I think that our heuristic is extremely concise, so to remove any elements would be paramount to removing a necessary feature of evaluation. With that said, I think I can defend the choices our heuristic makes.


  • To what extent does this project convey a clear message?
  • Does this project have a substantive, controlling idea?

Form and Content

  • Do the project’s structural or formal elements serve the conceptual core in an effective and efficient manner?
  • Are the project’s design decisions deliberate, controlled, and defensible?
  • Is the project accessible and usable under reasonable circumstances?


  • To what extent does it engage the intended audience?

Ethical Issues

  • Does the project successfully and ethically integrate borrowed information?


Core: The two bullet points listed here are both essential. Conveying a clear message is one thing; presenting a work with a controlling idea is another. It’s the difference between a thesis statement and an issue statement: “I’m talking about dogs here!” vs. “I’m saying that dogs are better than cats!” You have to have both, obviously, or the audience feels either unconcerned (no one cares that you’re talking about dogs) or confused (why is this person so pro-dog?). I don’t know what sort of third bullet point could be placed here that wouldn’t be redundant.

Form and Content: The last bullet point, I think, speaks for itself. If you can’t access the media then you can’t experience it. As for the other two, the first is a necessary consequence of accepting the points of the Core criteria: if you have a conceptual core, a controlling idea, then you have to make sure that your work reflects/presents that idea. The middle point is, obviously, a follow-up to the first point: if you have a piece that presents a controlling idea, then the design of the piece must be defended as valid; this is really the crux of an evaluation of any media, that you must be able to look at the piece and say, “This works, this doesn’t” and then express why.

Audience: This is the one that I think we’re missing some material on. We should, of course, ask to what extent the audience is asked to engage, but we should also ask if engagement by the audience is a defensible technique, as with any other formal element. Just asking “are we being engaged” isn’t enough; it’s “why” we’re being engaged that’s just as important.

Ethical Issues: I’m not a very ethical person, so I’ll leave it to my peers to add or subtract from this section. I think it’s pretty good as is.

So yeah, I like our heuristic, and would only change it insofar as I would add to its Audience portion. Other than that, I think it works pretty well, and doesn’t have unnecessary verbiage.


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