Online Culture

By Tiffany Shlain


Overview of Lecture


Understanding how to create for the web,  is to learn about online culture.

* How is online communication different then previous forms of communications?

§        Not grounded in a physical space

§        Interactivity

§        Speed of dissemination

* What are the attributes of online culture?

§         Communication: Email


Reintroduces writing

Always on


Extends our memory

Telecommuting, travel (these seem to be opposite of each other, doesn’t give a full thought like the others)

Efficient dissemination of information

Multilevel communication


Email box never announces it’s full

Expectation of response time

The “Accidental” cc or bcc

New etiquette slow on the uptake

Rumors quick to spread

Expression limited to emoticons

§         Community


Close, physical proximity




Web sites

Chat rooms


Not limited by physical distance

New ways of connecting



Face time is lost

§         Space


Better understanding of the interconnectedness of the world.


All the variables and actions from other parts of the world that ultimately will affect you.


§         Crisis


Cell Phones, Beepers

Email:I’m Okay

Alternative perspectives

Forums to share thoughts

Online Donations

Database of information to fight terrorism


Stress on the worker of the constant stream of news.-No Filters



Network tool for terrorism

§         Trust

Space Offline

12 ft= Public Space

12 to 4 ft=Social Space

 4 ft to 18 inches=Personal Space

                                                Space Online

12 Ft= Public Space=Web sites

12 to 4 ft=Social Space=Bulletin Boards and postings

4 ft to 18 inches=Personal Space=Email


§         Issues


Building trust in cyberspace

Understand the pro’s and con’s of the anonymity

Encourage a sense of community off and online



* Criteria for Judging for a Webby Award


Structure & Navigation

Visual Design



Overall Experience


§         Content

Engaging and appropriate for audience

Fresh & relevant

Links to related Sites

Clearly stated policies

(These last two seem passe – how about user created content – reviews, etc.)Provide an online archive

Develop Top 10 Lists


§         Structure & Navigation


Navigation is the ease of finding what the visitor seeks.

People rely on the quality of navigation more than other components

Be consistent, persistent and easy to find.

Create prompts, guides, tutorials, instructions to aid a visitor through a transaction/and or search task on a site


§         Why is information design *so* important?

Creates a sense of space

Allows navigation or movement through that space

Promotes priorities & goals

Establishes trust



§         Visual Design

Clarity of purpose- The visual layout

How effectively does the design convey the idea and purpose of the site?

The visual design should convey craftsmanship

Clean and simple



§         Interactivity

Email Lists

Discussion Boards

Moderated Online Chats

Customer Service

Peer to Peer?

Tools (online trading, banking, etc.)


§         Functionality

The ways in which the site technically functions.

Does it work on all browsers?

Does it work on various modem speeds?

How quickly does each page, text and images appear?


§         Overall Experience

A good web site is more than the sum of its parts.


Case Study of the best of the Web