In-Class Assignment for 9/3

Website Design and Visual Rhetoric 

  • Group A: Social Media sites
    • Including but not limited to: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Twitter, dating apps, any other sites whose primary purpose is to connect users via user-posted content 
  • Group B: Retail sites
    • Including but not limited to: Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Wayfair, any other sites whose primary purpose is to sell goods and/or services 
  • Group C: Informational sites 
    • Including but not limited to: Wikipedia, IMDB, WikiHow, Allrecipes, Know Your Meme, any other sites whose primary purpose is to provide information
  • Group D: News sites 
    • Including but not limited to: The New York Times, Fox News, The Daily Kos, Buzzfeed News, Huff Post, NPR, CNN, BBC News, any other sites whose primary purpose is to provide news 

Think about the questions on pages 13-15 of the reading. You don’t have to answer all the questions, and you aren’t limited to these questions, but these ideas should guide your analysis. 

  • Name the elements: How much text is on the screen, and what kinds of typeface? How many images are on the screen, and what kinds of images (pictures, illustrations, infographics, etc.)? How much blank space is there? 
  • Name the relationships between the elements: How is the page laid out? Are there rows, columns, or other divisions between parts of the page? What draws your eye? How do the texts and images work together to make meaning or draw attention? How does the page signal how a person is supposed to read it and navigate it? 
  • Contextualize the elements: What is the tone or feeling that the site is creating? Who is the audience for the site? What expectations is that audience likely to have when they visit the site? What prior knowledge are they likely bringing? 

Keeping in those ideas in mind, answer the following three questions as a group, and be prepared to present your analysis to the full class: 

  1. Look at a bunch of sites of the type that your group is analyzing and identify what they have in common. What is typically characteristic of a site of this type? 
  2. Then choose two sites from your type (preferably two that are very different) and identify the differences. How do the differences in design indicate a difference in the purposes of the sites? Based on these differences, how are the audiences for these two sites different?
  3. Then chose one specific post/page/story from each of the two sites you chose for question two and look at them more closely. How are individual posts/pages/stories designed on these sites? What makes for a “successful” post/page/story on this kind of site?