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Deconstructing Web Pages

Rob Miller | Monday April 11, 2011

Categories: GCSE, Eduqas (WJEC) GCSE, WJEC GCSE Media Studies, Advertising, Viral Advertising, Hot Entries, Website Analysis, Social Networking Analysis, Web Pages

The main point with websites is that they can be deconstructed like any other media form – the basic principles of Print Media (Magazines and Newspapers) apply in that a fundamental audience appeal is constructed from layout and design with the key fact that websites have their own conventions.

The Tabloid (see below) is the closest form of traditional media that compares with the ‘look’ and design of a website including a:

  • Simplistic and minimalist layout – boxes, vertical columns no more than 60 characters wide and sub headings
  • High ratio of photography to text, Use of WOB (white on black)
  • Restricted language code
  • Inclusive familiar mode of address (speaks directly to its audience)
  • Evidence of synergy and convergence
  • Designed for scan reading and all about individual relevance

Compare this front page of the printed version of The Sun with the Front Page of their website below – note use of primary colours (red signifying The Sun), use of WOB, vertical columns, high ratio of photography to text, content analysis revealing celebrity obsessions and traditional, mainstream ideology (nationalistic headline and link to story about the sexuality of a sportsman).

Like the website it is simple, clear and easy to read.

Users can seek information and entertainment news immediately recognising the house style and the inclusive, emotive, direct mode of address.

It is intended for a mainstream, working class target audience.

Below is a guide on how to analyse websites, specifically front pages; for a focussed semiotic deconstruction see MediaEdu Teacher Handout on Music Industry Websites under the section Technical and Symbolic codes for a full, detailed analysis.

Simplicity, relevance and clarity are crucial in understanding the layout of web pages. Immediacy is a major difference from print media - users are seeking information or entertainment immediately. Genre expectations dictate that a clicked link will supply that answer...


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