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Web Site Genres. 13 February 2007 Kathy Gill. Importance of Pattern.

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web site genres

Web Site Genres

13 February 2007

Kathy Gill

importance of pattern
Importance of Pattern
  • Structured communication enables the audience to concentrate on message content – the context creates boundaries on audience expectations. For example, after the words “Once upon a time …” those familiar with the fairy tale structure (genre) know what kind of story to expect.
    • http://bertplat.fastmail.fm/structureincommunication.html
patterns also relate to function
Patterns Also Relate to Function
  • Navigation/UI patterns
  • Using Interface Design Patterns explores recurring, functional components of websites
  • A lot of work has been done in architecture
challenge of hypertext
Challenge of Hypertext
  • But because hypertext is not linear, a web site visitor has to think about both the form and the content of a message.
    • Thus, you can argue that there is a larger cognitive load on a web site visitor than someone reading a book or watching TV
  • There are, however, things we can do to minimize this cognitive load
web porous and dynamic
Web: Porous and Dynamic
  • Porous: Most websites have more than a single point of entry (100% Flash sites may be an exception). Thus, we can’t expect visitors to follow a specific starting point
  • Dynamic: Web sites are notoriously changeable – new content, design, and technologies are being introduced all the time
what s a genre
What’s a “Genre”?
  • “typified communicative actions characterized by similar substance and form and taken in response to recurrent situations" (Yates & Orlikowski, 1992, p.299)
  • “most genres imply a combination of purpose and form, such as a newsletter, which communicates ‘the news of the day,’ including multiple short articles and is distributed periodically to subscribers or members of an organization.” (Crowston & Williams, 2000, p.202)
genre types university
Genre Types: University
  • For university websites, these content genres are commonly used in research:
    • Course pages
    • Department pages
    • Faculty pages
    • Project pages
    • Student pages
    • Staff pages
  • What’s missing?
genre types ecommerce
Genre Types: eCommerce
  • Genre types on ecommerce sites:
    • Catalog
    • Product
    • Shipping
    • Shopping Cart
    • About Us
  • What’s missing?
  • Is a “shopping cart” standardized across the web?
classes of sites
Classes of Sites
  • Academic
  • Aggregator (Google News, PriceGrabber)
  • Blogs (individual, group)
  • Community (Facebook, Flickr, mySpace)
  • Directories (phone, bus schedules, etc)
  • eCommerce (from Amazon to eBay)
  • Entertainment
  • Media / News
  • Organization (government, profit, not-for-profit)
  • Personal (from family to portfolio)
  • Porn
  • Search engines
  • Web applications
  • Other?
small group work
Small Group Work
  • Break into three groups
    • Group 1: eCommerce
    • Group 2: Entertainment
    • Group 3: Government
small group work1
Small Group Work
  • Group – reach agreement on the definition of your web site class/genre.
  • Individually:
    • Find three sites that you believe best epitomize the genre. Also, try to find at least one that categorically fits but visually breaks the genre.
    • Identify what “makes” this genre immediately self-apparent – regardless of entry point
    • Identify content types found in this genre
  • Regroup – discuss – reach consensus. Try to agree on one or two example sites.
  • eCommerce
  • Entertainment
  • Government
project time
Project Time
  • Here are some questions to ponder, if you haven’t done so already:
what experience are we going for
What Experience Are We Going For?
  • What is our core area of expertise – let’s not try to "be all things to all people"
    • Amazon – online retail standard
    • Coca-Cola – liquid refreshment
    • Disney – innovative storytelling
    • FedX – on-time delivery
    • Starbucks – coffee culture
  • General description
  • What types of content might appeal to audience(s)
  • What are their current practices?
  • What are their needs?
types of users
Types of Users
  • Surfers, Casual Browsers
  • Novice or Casual Users
  • Expert or Frequent Users
  • International Users