Apr 12, 2012

Websites as cultural expressions

Possibly quite useful article by Luc Pauwels "A Multimodal Framework for Analyzing Websites as Cultural Expressions" (Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17 (2012) 247–265, link).

The article describes a tool for analyzing websites as both media and sociocultural phenomena. It offers guidance for descriptive and interpretative approaches to analysis.

Below is a concise version of the multimodal framework:

  1. First impressions and reactions: “look and feel”, affective reactions
  2. Salient features and topics: website features and attributes, present and absent content categories and topics
  3. In-depth analysis of content and formal choices
    • intra-modal analysis (typographic signifiers, layout, visual representations
    • cross-modal analysis – image/text, typography/text relations, sound/image relations, design/language/video/audio interplay
    • in-depth “negative” analysis (what’s missing)
  4. Embedded points of view or “voice” and implied audiences and purposes
  5. Information organization – structural and navigational options and constraints, gate keeping tools, external hyperlinks, directed and interactive features
  6. Contextual analysis, provenance and interference – senders and sources, technological platforms, attribution of cultural hybridity