The Web’s Compass Essay

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The Web’s Compass

When designing a web page, many features and characteristics must be considered. Three important features for navigational tools are text, icons, and photographs. The use of these elements must consider benefits to the user and navigation throughout the site. I will discuss text, icons, and photographs and why each feature can help or hinder the navigation of a site.

Text
When deciding whether to use text as a navigational button we must remember to effectively use color, type, and text to help readers maneuver within the site. When choosing to use text, consider “production: arranging text and visuals on pages or screens, plus choosing type and color” (Hilligoss and Howard 164). When using text as a navigational
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Icons
When deciding to use icons over text and photographs, make sure the icon represents the information adequately, is more efficient than text or photos, and is not overused. When choosing to use an icon, first be sure it represents your object. Killingsworth and Gilbertson describe an icon as “a small picture that substitutes for a number of words” (47). Using an icon can save time for your readers, but it must be an image that relates easily and without confusion. If these criteria can be met then an icon can be advantageous to your website. “The advantage of having the icon is that readers might save one step in translating the verbal image into a pictorial one in their own minds or may gain a surer understanding of the analogy with the aid of the icon” (Killingsworth and Gilbertson 48). Icons should be faster and easier for the reader than text or photo. “The value of an image is that it allows a viewer to attain an impression of a whole that would be broken into pieces if it were presented in the relatively linear and atomistic medium of language” (Killingsworth and Gilbertson 56). If choosing to use an icon it should be the most simple and efficient navigational tool for the reader. Another advantage to the icon is the potential accessibility across nations. In Hilligoss and Howard’s Visual Communication, they state, “there is a universal response to visual communication” (165). Icons could be useful if your site is geared toward international

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