Category: 06. Characteristics of Web Texts

From Linguistics to Human Factors

Up to this point, I have shed light on many different aspects of Web texts from a linguistic and communicative point of view. I have explained that a modern approach towards text linguistics has a broader conception of a particular piece of language; consequently, an author must also consider the context of the intended discourse that a text shall be part of. According to the communicative dilemma of written texts, the context in which a text shall be understood must be given in the text.

2007-09-28 09:56 | ,

Hypertext

The most important characteristic of the Web in general, and – at the same time – the Web’s foundation and materialisation is its ‘hypertext’ structure. In order to define hypertext, the simplest way is to contrast it with traditional texts, as e.g. my M.A. thesis. Reading this paper means that there is “a single linear sequence defining the order in which the text is to be read” (Nielsen 1995, p 1), that is from chapter 1 to chapter 5. “Hypertext is non-sequential; there is no single order that determines the sequence […].” (Nielsen 1995, p 1)

2007-09-25 10:47 |

Text Meets Design

After a four weeks summer break I will continue with a topic that matters much to me and to the work of our design agency. This posting is all about the relevance of Web design issues for text production, for which I will present three reasons, leading to a Web designs credo that we follow day by day.

2007-09-05 10:32 |

Language selection and navigation

When publishing several language versions of the same texts on a Web site, a good translation is essential. This is no question, and I simply take it for granted. What is still important to bear in mind, however, is the fact that localisation too often is done “without knowledge of usability engineering principles or the context in which the product will be used” (Del Galdo & Nielsen 1996, p VI). Consequently, another aspect that I will discuss refers to the way the options to choose a language ought to be presented on a Web site.

2007-08-02 20:58 | ,

How Web Texts Meet International Users

Most of the companies that run a Web site do so because they already have many of their sales overseas, or at least plan to have so. “They don’t call it World Wide Web for nothing.” (Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Nielsen 2000, p 313) Consequently, textual information on the Web is often given in other languages additionally to the language of the content provider. Therefore, content managers have to ensure international usability as well of their Web sites as of their Web texts. In fact, some additional aspects beyond the mere translation of web content should be considered when developing a Web site.

2007-07-19 13:40 | ,

Features of Online Discourse

Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Halliday & Hasan (1989) provide a useful approach derived from the field of discourse analysis that can contribute to understand the context of situation in which a text shall function. Their simple conceptual framework of three headings serves “to interpret the social context of a text, the environment in which meanings are being exchanged” (Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 12). I consider knowing this environment as essential for the creation of Web texts in general.

2007-07-11 10:37 |

Speaking Geek and Other Bloopers

As I have announced in the previous posting, Johnson (2003) has identified a couple of mistakes that publishers of Web sites frequently make, as they may not be aware of the communicative dilemma of Web texts. Some very basic ideas are given in this article in order to sensitise the readers of my blog to make up their minds about something so trivial – but with an enormous impact on successful communication.

2007-07-06 22:26 | ,

Context of Online Communication: A Communicative Dilemma

Now that we are reassured to rely on the written text for communication on the Web (see the previous posting), we may move towards another important aspect that Web authors must be aware of. Kana et al. (2003) have described a communicative dilemma of Web texts (and written text in general) that represents THE competitive challenge in writing for the Web.

2007-07-05 19:57 | ,

The Role of Written Text for Online Communication

According to Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Kana et al. (2003), critics of our modern culture find fault with lacking ambitions of people in general to read and write. If this was the case, how then can texts on the Web be communicative at all? This article shall explain how written text fits into the frame of the Web, though. Comparing the quality and manner of communication via Web texts with communication via classical text media (e.g. books) will answer the question why we still deal with written text on the Web and succeed in doing so.

2007-06-27 12:53 | ,

What Actually Is a Text?

Traditionally, a text used to be understood as a piece of written language, say a poem, a novel or a single chapter in a book (see Fairclough 1995). To modern linguists a text is “[…] any instance of living language that is playing some part in a context of situation […]. It may be either spoken or written, or indeed in any other medium of expression that we like to think of” (Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 10). Essentially, a text is a semantic unit that cannot simply be “defined as being just another kind of sentence, only bigger” (Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 10). It is rather the inherent meaning that defines a unit of language a text, although this meaning is still coded in words or structures, which in turn have to be recoded in sounds or letters, as Halliday & Hasan (1989) further explain.

2007-06-24 21:21 |

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