Web Analysis: Exploring Real Technical
Rhetoric in Your Major.
Worth 10% of your grade.
Group Assignment (Assigned 4/8/09; post on
CourseMine forum by 4/27 before
Working as a collective, find a technical
website related to your major or profession (or the major of a member of your
Analyze your chosen website based on the following
and evaluate the website
as a work tool:
a. Analyze the content of
the website. What does it contain? What is the purpose of the
website? What sort of text and graphics or media does the website
contain? Who was the author (if indicated)?
b.. Analyze the structure of the website. What comes first? What
comes after? How is it built? at? Does it offer a logical sequence
of menus, a search engine process, a simple list of items, or does
it simply jump back and forth chaotically? How are the pages and
links divided? How good is the spelling, grammar, vocabulary and
Evaluate the content of the website
a. Clarity: How clear is the website? Is it
easy to understand or is it confusing and mysterious? How effective
is the text in accomplishing the purpose for which it was created?
How effective is the text in communicating the main idea to the
intended audience, or to another audience?
b. Grandeur: How strong, educated, mature and vigorous is the
language? Why? What style (tone) of language is used (high, medium,
or low)? Are the graphics impressive or just cutesy?
c. Beauty: How attractive is the form and appearance of the
website ( type-faces, menus, graphics, etc.)?Is this website a
pleasure to visit? Or, does the author use any annoying,
bureaucratic, distracting or ugly words and graphics? Are the text
and graphics lively and do they serve the purpose of the website, or
are the graphics just boring clip-art included only to break up
boring blocks of text?) Use quotes or examples to illustrate the
quality of the website as art or beauty. Of course, be aware that
some websites are not meant to be artistic or beautiful--a news
report or textbook, for instance, may be neither beautiful or
artistic, but may still be important and successful.
d. Speed: How fast does the website load? Do the text and
graphics flow along easily, making the website easy to read, or does
the text drag along with extra words, phrases and sentences? Did you
find any errors, typos, dead links, or problems navigating within
the website itself? Are there unnecessary graphics, tables, videos or
features that slow down use of the website or distract the user? Does the website keep
you at the edge of your seat, or put you to sleep? Why?
e. Character: How is the character of the sponsoring agency
or company reflected in the text? Whom does this website serve best?
Who does it not serve, or even put down, ignore, pretend not to
notice or shove aside? Is everyone who visits the website assumed to
be English-speaking, or computer-proficient, or sighted, or to have
high-speed Internet access?
f. Truth: How true and up to date are the facts used in the
website? How well does the website use facts? Or does it just give
generalities? Does it have a FAQ or "Help" link? Are sources
provided for information or data on the website? Is information on
the website freely available to any visitor, or is it passworded or
g. Gravity: Does this website pass the "who cares?" test? How
much does the content of this website really MATTER? Does it inform
you, help your work in some way, or make you agree more with what
the website says? Why or why not?
3. Sum up:
what is your overall reaction to the website
Remember; reading and writing "critically" does not
mean the same thing as "criticizing," in everyday language
(complaining or griping, fault-finding, nit-picking). Your analysis
can and should be positive and praise the website if possible, as
well as pointing out problems, disagreements and shortcomings. Would
you read something else like this or by this sponsor in the future
or not? Why or why not? To whom would you recommend this website?
writing a web analysis or evaluation, write as a professional addressing other
professionals or fellow scholars. As a student,, if you write that
a technical website is useless or does not pass your
"Who cares?" test, but many other people think that it is
important , readers will probably not agree with you that
the website is dull or boring, but they may conclude instead that you
are dull and boring, that you are too immature in your professional
development or too uneducated to understand
what important things the website contains.
If you did not like a website, that is fine, but criticize it either
from principle (it is outdated or incomplete,
includes factual errors or outright lies, it is too specialized to
ever use) or from form (it is poorly designed and hard to navigate, it contains
too much unnecessary detail or is hard to navigate, it contains irrelevant
or distracting graphics, or wanders
around without making a point). In each of these cases, do not
simply criticize, but give examples. But, always beware, as a
student, of analyzing any website as "confusing" or
"boring," since readers might simply conclude that you are
too ignorant or slow to understand and appreciate what the website has to
(Partially (based on the Seven
Ideas of Hermogenes.)
O.W. 12/08 rev 3/09