Week 12: Lecture

  • Beginning of Class Writing
    • Click on the heading of this blog post title above–“Week 12: Lecture,” scroll down to the comment area, and write at least 250 words in response to this week’s readings. You can summarize the readings, you can relate the readings to your own experience or something else you have read or learned about, etc. Any writing of 250 words or more that are related to the readings are fair game for this weekly assignment at the beginning of class.
    • Post your comment after 20 minutes even if you don’t reach the 250 word minimum threshold.
    • Why we are doing this: It helps you organize your thoughts before discussion and it gives you regular writing practice.
  • Discuss this week’s readings.
  • Continue the Final Team Project.
    • Primary deliverables are the collaboratively written report and in-class presentation with slidedeck.
    • Bonus points for creating a mock up of your website using GitHub or OpenLab/Wordpress (create as a Project).
  • Preparation for next week: Learn about the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. We will have a field trip there to talk about its information architechture–how the items are arranged, how we use a finding aid to locate materials, etc.
  • Review homework and readings for next week. If you are behind on homework assignments or weekly writing assignments, get them done as soon as possible and let Prof. Ellis know what assignments you’ve caught up on via email.

9 thoughts on “Week 12: Lecture”

  1. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Naila Butt

    DATE: 1 May 2023

    SUBJECT: Cultural Aspects in Website Development 

    Cultural Cognitive Style and the Web: Toward a Theory and Practice of Web Design for International Users discusses the rapid advancement of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and its impact on the global community. Connecting and interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds and backgrounds has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges, commerce, and social interaction between people of different cultures. However, this has also posed significant challenges, as the article points out, particularly in designing effective web content that can cater to the needs and preferences of a diverse audience, which has also been a significant issue in the past few years.

    The article highlights one of the key issues that web developers should be aware of, which is the need for them to be mindful of the cultural differences that influence users’ perceptions, values, and behaviors with regard to web development. There needs to be a nuanced understanding of how different cultures approach the acquisition and processing of information, as well as how these differences affect the user experience on the web as a whole. For example, users from certain cultures might place a higher value on visual cues and aesthetics, whereas others might prefer logically arranged textual information based on logic.

    On the other hand, the article, Information Architect for Bilingual Websites, emphasizes the importance of designing websites with the user in mind, particularly when it comes to language and cultural differences. Furthermore, as technology continues to evolve and businesses and individuals become more globalized, designing accessible and user-friendly multilingual and bilingual websites will become increasingly imperative.

  2. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Khemraj Persaud

    DATE: 5/1/23

    SUBJECT: Weekly Reading Assignment

    For this week’s readings, we visited the concepts of cultural cognition and how it should be considered when applied to web design. “Information Architecture for Bilingual Web Sites” by Cunliffe, etc. Discussed a case study of a website in two different languages, which were Welsh and English. The article found the Welsh culture and the way the native speakers thought influenced how the users interacted with the site. A card-sorting exercise was performed as well, which found that the Welsh materials produced a deeper, narrower structure, which may be attributed to Welsh language and culture. The second article that we read, “Cultural Cognitive Style and the Web,” by Faiola and Matei, discussed differences in culture and behavior and how these differences influence how we navigate web sites. For example, the layout of the Nike website for Chinese and American audiences are much different. Chinese users preferred a more complex layout, whereas the American site was more linear.

    It is important for web designers to consider their audiences carefully. Different cultures process information differently, therefore a designer must construct a site in such a way that the intended audience can receive the content in the most effective way. These types of underlying factors warrant much more research if we are to connect and comprehend how and why we learn the way we do. Much of information architecture deals with the organization and access of data, and it is important to understand the reasons why we process and categorize information if we are to optimize our usage of information.

  3. Week 12 Readings

    Reading one talked about Information Architecture for Bilingual Websites. I learned that 80% of European corporate sites are multilingual. Websites are multilingual to help benefit the users who are looking for content in their native language. Websites are structured and designed to accommodate users in the best way possible. The role of information architecture plays a huge role when designing the websites. The website’s architects must be weary of the cultural and language barrier of its users. There are two major aspects of designing a bilingual website. One aspect is to provide interconnectivity between two languages. The second aspect is to structure the material and content in a way that suits the users tasks. 

    Reading two talked about the cultural cognitive style of the web. I learned that due to the impact of non-English speakers, web designers had to create new strategies for effectively delivering website content. Building websites relate to information perception and organization. The users experience is crucial and plays a huge role in the development of the site. Web developers have to take account of the cultural differences in the ways that users think, assign, value, and behave. There is a behavioral perspective of web design, cultural shaping of cognition through learning, and cognitive style differences. 

    The two readings that were assigned this week helped inform me about the major roles information architecture has on building websites. The information that I learned made me one step closer to understanding the key importance of technology and benefits of information architecture. 

  4. TO: Prof. Ellis 

    FROM: Khaled Akam 

    DATE: May 1, 2023 

    SUBJECT: IA Culture

    A shift on the internet has occurred with the practice of web design. Content on the World Wide Web (WWW) must be understood by web designers. To get into the mind of a web designer we should look at cultural acts. Behavior is key to understanding how individuals learn and process. Researchers are always studying individuals in certain environments. When you investigate the culture of the Web, a framework appears on the surface. Culture shapes thought is what researchers have deduced through studies. It’s important to know that culture follows on the internet. Websites should be strategically made with thinking about the audience in mind. If you plan on selling or generally using your website internationally, you will need to investigate cross-cultural users. 

    The difference in culture has made a structural change in web sites. It’s important to know the language of the audience members even if your web site will be converted into the correct language. Complex cultural studies have impacted information architecture in an extensive development. The World Wide Web is immense and full of content. Information architecture is developed with the language of audience members in mind. If you look at Welsh-speaking audience members, vocabulary changes because the communication is broken down into bilingual users. Studies and observation between Welsh users indicated different conceptual structures. Analysis of these can factor into information architecture benefits for when your work involves these web developments. Acknowledging the audience and users who will be involved in your work is a step into information architecture.

  5. To: Prof. Ellis

    From: Bria Glenn

    Date: May 1, 2023

    Subject: Week 12 Readings

     Thinking about bilingual communication and how we approach it in the United States is interesting because often times we see the disconnect between those who speak a different language outside of English and those who speak English as their first language. In “Information Architecture for Bilingual Web Sites” by Daniel Cuncliffe, Helen Jones, et al. We see how IA comes into play when attempting to create something that serves those who speak their native language but may also be somewhat fluent in another language whether it be English or another native language. It becomes more than just formulating something that can be used for the sake of a functioning website but more so about really connecting to people who may be bilingual because this can help not only that person who is bilingual but others who may be looking to learn another language such as English and can use it as a tool to enhance their proficiency.

    This is also a very old article so it is interesting to see with the case study and other resources the advancements that have been made in regards to adhering those who do speak more than one language and forming content around both one’s first language and their second language.

    With this idea from the first article surrounding bilingual communications in website designs, “Cultural Cognitive Style and the Web: Toward a Theory and Practice of Web Design for International Users” by Anthony Faiola and Sorin Adam Matei, we see how important it is for there to be adequate resources for those of other cultures. In this article, it speaks about the developments made within technology that have focused on how cultural differences have played a part in web design. With this also being an older article, the information provided can still be used today. We see people in different countries create their form of technology and it can be interesting to see how cross-cultural differences can come together to make something that is so advanced.

  6. TO: Professor Jason W. Ellis

    FROM: Ronald C. Hinds

    DATE: May 01, 2023


    As Lev Vygotsky said in his 20th century research in child psychology, culture fundamentally influences the way we categorize our thoughts. Whorf in 1956 argued that language patterns are influenced by cultural norms. In the Whorfian sense languages and knowledge could be described as analytic or holistic in nature.

    When creating contact for the World wide Web, WWW, take into account cultural differences in ways that users think, assign value and behave. 

    • Users who are from analytic cultures emphasize functional-abstract relationships.
    • Users from holistic cultures tend to be more inclined to connect information to its concrete context.

    One way to connect usability with research is to understand that cognitive styles are contextually shaped. Studies show there is a direct connection between cultural style and web design.

    There needs to be awareness of the web designers of the web designs of the cultural context of the bilingual community. Cultural differences between language groups may warrant sensitivity to the impact of icons, graphics and colors Information architects, IAs, have to play a role in assessing those complex cultural factors. The designing of websites for bilingual communities are subtly different to designing multilingual sites.

    Direct language links can help to provide equivalent material in the other language which bilinguals use.

    Splash Pages

    With regards to a bilingual website the “splash page” is designed to be the main point of entry into the site. With the bilingual sites the splash pages allow the user to choose his/her preferred language to communicate.

    Unfamiliarity with technical terms used in the 1st language and may wish to see the familiar terms in their language.

  7. The article, “Information Architecture for Bilingual Web Sites”  introduces the challenges for creating a multilanguage site based off the two aspects: an abstract structural analysis of existing bilingual Web designs focusing on the presentation of bilingual material, and a bilingual  card-sorting activity conducted with potential users. It was predicted that by 2002 over half of the websites on the WWW will be non-English and by 2005 multi language Web sites will be the standard for business. After conducting my own online research, as of January 2023 there are 58.8% English websites. Having a multi language website helps extend connections/business beyond local or boundaries unable to be passed before due to language barriers. 

    The three approaches to cross language linking were: 

    1. Bilingual  splash  page  leading  to  independent  mirror sites – independent, no cross language links
    2.  Bilingual splash page leading to mirror sites with homepage language – links to other language lead to the homepage 
    3. Bilingual splash page leading to mirror sites with direct language links – links to the other language, some provided links direct to the homepage of the other language as well.

    Web developments used separate development teams for each language or conducted the development in one language and then translated it to another language. 

    It is important to keep the end users in mind, consider the navigation and experience from the other side. This can be a difficult task to approach due to the different types of audiences that come across the resource. 

    The article about Cultural Cognitive Style and the Web by Faiola and Matei, relates to the first article in terms of non-English speakers and the users behind the websites. Culture is a complex and problematic area that requires more attention from individuals/ companies attempting to understand what impacts online commencement, education and the general accessibility. Studies show that through certain ways specific cognitive styles are intertwined with culture. An example given were Asians having a heightened contextual sensitivity which helps them over North Americans for estimating quantities. 

    Two important sets of principles are the holistic and analytic, the example mentioned was distinguishing Western (analytic and Eastern (holistic) cognitive styles. 

    The behavior of cross-culture needs to be examined more in terms of the users for bilingual websites and understanding the person using the online resource. The audience should be on the mind while creating the content and the way they structure content to enable easy usability and accessibility especially as a technical writer.

  8. Information architecture for bilingual Websites discussed the information architecture for bilingual websites. The process of designing bilingual websites is different from designing monolingual websites.When designing bilingual websites information architectures must provide rich interconnectivity between two languages. The material must also be presented in a language that suits its users’ tasks. Multi Language websites follow the abstract, content independent structural model. The abstract structural content-independent model is a series of independent hierarchies, one for each language, or a series of  hierarchies joined only at a home page, which offers a choice of languages (Cunliffe 2002). Based on my own observations, it appears that most websites follow the abstract structural model today. In the reading, the authors predicted that by 2003 multi language websites would be standard for business and individuals that want to make a global impact. 

    In Cultural Cognitive Style and the Web: Toward a Theory and Practice of Web Design for International Users, Anthony Faiola and Sorin Adam Matei discuss web design for international users. They argue that website elements and placement should be adjusted to the user’s cognitive style. I agree with the authors that website elements and placement should be adjusted to fit each user’s cognitive style.Everyone’s cognitive style is different.Depending on how a website is designed a user might have a sense of either context and relationships or isolation and disorientation. The authors also mention cultural style preferences and how they may impact western views of information architecture. Some cultures do not have the same western views of information architecture.

  9. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Tiana Beatty

    Date: May 1, 2023


    This week’s reading that really resonated with was “Information Architecture for Bilingual Sites.” In the next few sentences, I will summarize and give an opinion on this article and what I found interesting and complex about it.

    This article explains about converting a website which is commonly in English into another language to show and represent diversity in communication and information architecture. It seems that the process for something like this is very tedious and doubles the work. Though the website is similar the languages component is not because the website is translated in another language. It seems like the process for creating a site through information architecture is similar but because the website is in another language, there can be similar and yet more challenges when presenting the site to an audience of both English and non-English. I would imagine that creating something like this is very complicated and requires more than two people collaborating because of the adding another language aspect. Depending on the complexity of the language, the architects are trying to convert the language too, they must have someone. either on the team or have to bring in a translator to make sure the language is being translated and formatted the correct way.

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