Culture and the World Wide Web


To examine culture’s influence on the information presentation design of web pages.
1.      Using the attached web links (see below) select one of the U.S. national news sites, and then select a national news site from another country (using the links provided). Be sure to choose a news source in a language that is not your own so that you can focus specifically on the layout, design, and images.
2.      Be observant and pay close attention to details. Examine the use of imagery and animation, as well as the layout on the page.
3.      For each page, make a list of characteristics that catch your attention. Compare to see whether they are similar or different on the two pages. Jot down visual features that compare or contrast the selected pages. For example, you may notice that Chinese pages use more imagery and Chinese pages are divided into many independent spaces, while on U.S. pages the layout is arranged around a focal point of the page.


U.S. web page

Other Culture’s web page













Answer the following questions:
1.      What evidence do you find that supports (or rejects) the hypothesis that culturally specific patterns of attention may be affected by the perceptual environment of that culture?
2.      With regard to the World Wide Web as a global medium, does your discovery answer the questions of whether it is a culturally characteristic perceptual environment or whether there is an emerging web style that transcends cultural boundaries?
3.      How do your findings in this exercise shed light on strategies for effective communication between you and people of other cultural backgrounds?