First assignment – Evaluating web writing

Writing and Editing for Digital Media (106477) – 2009

First assignment – Evaluating web writing

Due date: 1 September, 2009 

HTTP://WWW.ARTINFO.COM/

[New York]

ARTINFO.com is the online destination for Louise Blouin Media’s renowned art publications and fulfils their mission of providing ‘unparalleled access to the world of art and culture through print and internet platforms’. ARTINFO.com hosts information on art news, prices and the market, information about artists, museums, events, exhibitions, education and employment.

Story Elements

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz

Articles on ARTINFO.com are short and scannable, consisting of 1-4 paragraphs, including the Annie Leibovitz article. The headline is in a large eye catching font surrounded by empty space, separating it from the article text. An image of Leibovitz on the left breaks up the text. Readers are directed to other articles and advertising on the right.

 

Keywords

Real estate, Sue, Leibovitz, Debt, Art Capital Group, Photographs

Three keywords are incorporated into the headline, ‘Leibovitz’s $40 Million Real Estate: A Way to Ease her Debt?’ There is a hyperlink to further information about ‘Annie Leibovitz’ and to an article about her being ‘sued’. Art Capital Group is in bold, but has no link. There is a reference to Leibovitz’s photography within the article and in the image credit.

Promotion and cross-promotion  

All feature articles can be found clearly on ARTINFO.com’s home page. Headlines are in red bold and stand out from the standfirsts, which are white. The Leibovitz article is found under the left TOP STORIES column, in the third box entitled PEOPLE. Each article is delineated effectively so readers can easily navigate and select them.

On the article page, the main navigation bars across the top and bottom are still in view, effectively promoting other elements of the website. The article itself contains hyperlinks to other articles within the website, as well as an external site. In the right column ARTINFO.com promotes commercial advertisements, the Louise Blouin blog, a design feature and a link to facebook and twitter. Below the article text is an option to join the ARTINFO.com email newsletter, a clever cross-promotional tool.

Links

ARTINFO.com articles are fairly hyperlink poor. Within the Leibovitz article there are three main links. The first links to an internal biographical page about Leibovitz . The second links to an earlier internal report on the same story.  The third links to an external Bloomberg news report on the story. This link opens up in the same browser, navigating away from ARTINFO.com.

After investigation, it is evident that there are no publishing or ownership ties between Bloomberg and ARTINFO.com. The links don’t appear to give the author’s opinion, but rather provide additional facts. This is a positive considering Jakob Nielsen’s findings that most readers prefer objective articles, rather than ones that serve to promote a certain idea. (Nielsen, 1997: p11)  It is curious however, that there is no hyperlink to further information about the Art Capital Group or to their website.

Overall style and target audience

The overall style of ARTINFO.com is effective in its aim of disseminating up-to-date information about the contemporary artworld. The homepage is bold and savvy and contains a plethora of information without looking cramped. The eye navigates with ease down the main feature columns and rests comfortably on the less emphasizes sections, creating a succinct and user friendly website. It’s graphic design is cutting edge, through minimalism and balanced colour, likely to appeal to its artworld audience. Once a reader enters an article page, the bold black background changes to white, improving text readability.

HTTP://WWW.ARTREVIEW.COM/

[London]

ARTREVIEW.com is a new social networking website aimed to facilitate a global forum for interaction, discussion and the exchange of information, appealing to artists, galleries, collectors, critics, curators and anyone with an interest in the arts. ARTREVIEW.com blends editorial with the community, through the sharing of artwork, blog posts, videos, audio, news, online magazine publications and more.

Story Elements

ARTREVIEW.com has short one paragraph news articles. The story of a nude model posing at the Met in New York  is easily read and to the point, a writing feature that is endorsed by Bowles and Borden. (Bowles and Borden, 2000: p 115) The headline is punchy, yet is not followed by a standfirst or a kicker. There is an option for subscribers to post comments about the article providing global interaction, discussion and debate.

Keywords

Model, Charged, Nude, The Met, Photograph

Two keywords are used in the headline, ‘Model arrested at the Met’, where ‘arrested’ has a similar connotation to ‘charged’. There are no links or bold text incorporating other keywords.

Promotion and cross-promotion   

Like ARTINFO.com, ARTREVIEW.com highlights news feature articles on the left AR: Live column of the homepage, under a section called News. It cleverly promotes ARTREVIEW.com for your iPhone just below the main navigation bar at the top.

On the article page, the main navigation bars across the top and bottom are in view for readers, promoting the entire content of the website. A link to the News Blog featuring all the top articles currently being promoted is found under the headline. There is also a general News link, leading to a page with similar content to the blog, but in a different format. Blog posts and news articles are promoted a second time in a column on the right, next to an advertising column and the promotion of back issues of the online Art Review magazine.

The current issue of Art Review is also available simply by registering. The reader then receives full access to the digital version of the printed publication, where you can literally turn the pages. This is an interesting take on the issue raised in Nancy Kaplan’s article comparing online reading with that of a printed book, where it is suggested that ‘printed text demands a certain … receptivity [that] hypertexts do not require and do not value”. (Kaplan, 2000: p27) In a sense ARTREVIEW.com counteracts this view by combining digital hypertext on the screen with the action of reading a physical book.

Art Review Cover September 2009

Art Review Cover September 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links

ARTREVIEW.com articles are relatively hyperlink free. There is one link to the source of information, which comes from a Guardian article.

Overall style and target audience 

ARTREVIEW.com has a more subtle and mellow style in comparison to ARTINFO.com. It’s soft colours and rounded text create an intimidation free atmosphere for those in the artworld and those curious about it. ARTREVIEW.com is not as easy to navigate, as the navigation tabs are not in the standard drop down format, creating initial confusion.

In addition, multiple entries into the same internal blogs and news items give the impression that the site is more content full than it actually is. The content does however, provide relevant information to its target audience and encourages interactivity and engagement with the material, especially through discussion boards, blogs and the digital magazine.

HTTP://WWW.ARTSHUB.COM.AU/

[Melbourne] 

ARTSHUB.com.au is one of Australia’s leading arts websites, offering readers the latest news, opinions, jobs, events and directories. The website attracts a diverse audience from artists, musicians, performers, comedians, arts lovers, organisations and online companies.

Story Elements

In contrasts to ARTINFO.com and ARTREVIEW.com, ARTSHUB.com.au articles are long, with the same number of paragraphs as a printed newspaper article.  The headline of the article by Richard Watts is short and sharp and sits above an example of artwork by photographer Glenn Campbell. There is no standfirst or kicker on the story page.

Cox Peninsula # 2 by Glenn Campbell

Cox Peninsula # 2 by Glenn Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keywords

Photographer, World War II, Glen Campbell, Darwin, Japanese attack, Tunnels

The headline ‘Tunnel Vision’ makes use of one keyword, ‘tunnel’ and alludes to Glen Campbell’s ‘vision’ as a photographer. The article has no specific links related to these keywords, nor does it highlight or bold any text.

Promotion and cross-promotion 

ARTSHUB.com.au promotes its top 6 feature articles in a rotating slideshow of headlines, standfirst and images on the top right side of the homepage just below the main navigation bar. The Richard Watts article is promoted in the Latest News column directly underneath the feature articles slideshow. Articles here are promoted according to whether they are ARTSHUB.com.au related, national or international. The time the article has been uploaded is also noted.

On the article page, the only promotional link directs readers to the author’s email address at the bottom of the article text. Like both other websites, the navigation bars at the top and bottom remain to promote the website as a whole. The right column promotes advertising, taking readers to a new browser window.

ARTSHUB.com.au does not effectively make use of its story pages to promote other articles or website content in the same way as ARTINFO.com and ARTREVIEW.com. It is more text focused and requires readers to return to the homepage to find more articles and information.

Links

Aside from the above, there are no links in this article. There is a reference to an external website, giving more information about the tunnels, however it is not a hyperlink. Interestingly, in the comment section there is a meandering comment lightly referencing the article, but has many links to a website selling headphones.* While this appears to be a self promoting comment, it also shows that readers can potentially include links to other articles and websites in their comments.  

Of interest is the second headline in the Latest News column, ‘Tom Rob Smith’. On this article page the headline is repeated and there is a standfirst explaining who wrote the article and what it is about. Below is a link reading, ‘Read Tom Rob Smith article’ which goes to a youtube interview with Tom Rob Smith

This is in contrast with other articles on ARTSHUB.com.au, which are typically more academic, some even including footnotes.

Overall style and target audience 

Overall, the news items on ARTSHUB.com.au seem to ignore general website writing trends, including those listed by Bowles and Borden, such as keeping text brief and to the point, with the ability for readers to skim via an interchange of bullet points and graphics and to incorporate useful links for interactivity. (Bowles and Borden, 2000: p115-116). However, the article content is of high standard and gives their audience an informed and intelligent picture of the artworld today.

*After writing about this comment I took a break and when I returned to ARTSHUB.com.au later in the day it had been removed, so I was unable to retrieve the link. This is a lesson in the transient nature of the online world and the importance of retrieving links and content immediately, as it is easily removed and discarded. 

Bibliography

Bowels and Borden, 2000: Dorothy A Bowles and Diane L Borden, “Editing for the web”, Creative Editing, Belmont: Wadsworth, 2000

Kaplan, 2000: Nancy Kaplan, “Literacy beyond Books” in Andrew Herman and Thomas Swiss (eds), The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory, New York and London: Routledge, 2000

Nielsen, 1997: Jakob Nielsen, “Concise, scannable and objective: how to write for the web”, Useit.com at http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/writing.html, 1997

Interesting Links

Other art projects by Zach Hyman in New York City [Photographs of nudes in public places, ie the Subway, the Met]

A bit about Annie Leibovitz

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