First visit the Way Back Machine at archive.org. At this site, you can enter a web address and see how the site evolved over time. Try looking at www.lv.psu.edu to see the various website versions. How has the site changed both textually and visually? With each version of the site, the technical communicators were working to improve its effectiveness for users.
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Choose a website and look at all of the different versions. Discuss the changes over time in a document (formatted like a short report). In addition to discussing the changes and its effectiveness over the years, here are some questions to help you analyze the website.
- What are the company’s goals? How has this been communicated over time?
- What image does the old/ current site send? How could a new design or graphics improve/enhance this image?
- Is relevant information readily accessible to readers? Is there extraneous or irrelevant information? Is there anything you would add or eliminate?
- Does/ Did the website keep rhetorical considerations in mind?
- For example, audience, purpose, context, persuasiveness, ethical and legal concerns
- Textual considerations?
- Organization, style, textual coherence?
- Visual considerations?
- Design, graphics, visual coherence?
- How has it improved upon the following areas?
- Font size/ type
- Background (s)
- Navigational Aids
- Some other questions to guide you
- Accuracy- How reliable is the information?
- Comprehensiveness- Does the site give you the information that you need?
- Currency- Is the information up to date?
- Navigation – Is it easy to get around the site and find what you want?
- Organization – Is the site sensibly organized?
- Visual Presentation – How does the site look? Is the design user friendly? Does the site make good use of both verbal and visual elements?
- Accommodations – Does it accommodate people with disabilities and multicultural visitors?
- Overall, how usable is the website?
This will be graded on your thorough, clear discussion of the website and how you answer the questions. You do not have to answer all of the questions; but you should discuss them as they apply to your website. As always, editing and clarity should be a concern of yours. You should pay attention to your own format and design.
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