With the rapid advancement of Internet technologies, websites have become one of the primary sources of information. However, not all websites display excellent readability and have convenient navigation. The goal of this paper is to perform a detailed textual analysis of a website. At the heart of this analysis is the anti-globalization website, whose significance and persuasive message are difficult to underestimate. The paper includes a brief analysis of the website’s design, readability, and navigation. Recommendations to improve the quality of textual information are provided.
Keywords: website, textual, message, globalization, readability, design.
Evaluation of a Website
With the rapid advancement of Internet technologies, websites have become one of the primary sources of textual information. However, not all websites display perfect readability and excellent navigation features. Many websites do not have even the basic elements of graphics and style, whereas others seem to distort the very meaning of text and computer-mediated human communication. At the heart of this analysis is an anti-globalization political resource, http://struggle.ws. The website is claimed to have been “formed to provide a networking tool to co-ordinate radical resistance to the upcoming G8” (Struggle, n.d.). The website lacks any graphic content and is focused on the provision of purely textual information. In this way, website designers encourage the audience to focus on the textual, not graphic, political message, but also make it difficult for the reader to choose the most important information.
The goal of any textual analysis is to see how humans use their language and communication capacity to make sense of the world. In the world of the Internet and technologies, websites are becoming an extremely common tool of computer-mediated human communication. The Against Capitalist Globalization website is one of the brightest examples of how websites are used to spread compelling political messages and drawing public attention to the most acute political issues. The initial purpose of the discussed website was to coordinate public resistance to G8 held in Ireland in 2003, but the resource was later expanded to include a broad range of theoretical and practical materials related to the topic of capitalist globalization and its negative consequences. The website has been placed into a unique cultural context, which is associated with themes of equality, fairness, and justice. In this context, graphic elements lose their importance, giving place to text that does not need colorfulness and brightness. This cultural context includes a number of political discourses, namely, capitalism, globalization, material inequality, and radical resistance. These discourses are associated with and challenge established values and beliefs. These discourses also debate the validity of popular economic and political practices. As the goal of the website is to deliver a radical resistance message and not entertain the public, it resembles a book without pictures, whose intent is to persuade rather than amuse the reader.
The website has a dynamic structure/design, with a complex network of hyperlinks that create a simple logic of spatial design on the computer screen. However, one of the main problems is that the discussed hyperlinks lack any logical arrangement. The arrangement is not temporal but topical. With the lack of appropriate graphics, choosing the most relevant hyperlinks becomes rather problematic. Even more problematic is the fact that the most recent information is located at the very bottom of the home page. As a result, readers may fail to update the knowledge of the anti-globalization movement discussed on the website. Yet, and as mentioned earlier, the absence of complex graphic elements is justified by the purpose and intent of the discussed website: in the context of material inequality and capitalist globalization, graphics would look like a symptom of unnecessary affluence.
The website is readable, due to the use of readable font and font size. The entire website is presented in the traditional Times New Roman format. Modest but convenient, this way of presenting information enables the reader to focus on the content itself, rather than its graphic elements. Against, the main emphasis is placed on the political message, without any decorations, so that the reader is not distracted from what the political activists have to say. It would be fair to say that, despite the absence of complex graphic elements, the discussed website exemplifies a unique combination of the semiotic text and the meaning text, where the sequence of printed symbols and words allows the reader to interpret the meaning of the message and analyze its political significance against the discussed cultural context.
The website is designed in ways that make navigation easy and fast. The hyperlinked network has two basic levels, without any sub-levels. Each hyperlink is actually a trajectory leading the reader to a piece of easy-to-read text, message, or information. The website itself and its navigation principles position text as the central element of design and emphasize its functional orientation. However, the absence of graphic elements makes it difficult for the reader to choose the most important content. No website map has been developed to facilitate navigation. No colorful schemes have been used to prioritize website content. As a result, the discussed website fulfills its mission and provides a compelling political message but also makes it difficult for the user to choose the most important information and elements.
The Internet is an extremely convenient and productive tool of political communication. Hundreds of websites have been designed to send political messages to the public. Many of them are designed professionally, with extensive use of graphic elements, whereas many others emphasize the persuasive nature of their content and avoid using complex structure and design. The discussed anti-globalization website has numerous strong and weak features. The design and layout are simple and easy to read. The website provides comprehensive information that fits perfectly well into its cultural and political context. All information is presented in a convenient and readable format. The website is quite easy to navigate. Unfortunately, the lack of graphics makes it particularly difficult for the audience to prioritize and interpret the meaning of the information presented on the website. Therefore, website designers should include appropriate graphic elements and materials to make sure users can find the required information without any difficulty.