Throughout the semester, we have discussed digital rhetoric in terms of education. In Doug Eyman’s book Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice, Eyman discusses how digital rhetoric ties human computer interaction (HCI) and critical code studies (CCS). On the surface, both fields of study differ quite drastically in terms of discipline and perspective, yet both fields are closely related when it comes to digital rhetoric. I’ll be honest, I had no clue what these fields of study were before I read Eyman’s book. I’m sure HCI and CCS have impacted my life in one way or another. Frankly however, they do not interest me. So, let’s take a look at digital rhetoric in terms of something that affects my day to day life: consumerism! How does digital rhetoric apply to online shopping?
Online Shopping Sites
As we have learned over the past few weeks, platforms have power. By power I mean that platforms have the ability to influence our way of thinking. When it comes to online shopping, companies want to influence consumers to purchase their products. Design of an online shopping site can have a huge impact on whether or not consumers buy products. When analyzing the websites of popular brands, we are able to see how digital rhetoric affects consumerism. Lets take a look at the good and the bad.
The Dr. Martens website is visually exciting. The overall theme of the site features lots of black and yellow (a nod to their logo), and lots of creative photography showcasing their products. If you scroll to the bottom of the homepage, the consumer is met with a slideshow of Instagram posts from people who tagged Dr. Marten. For lack of better phrasing, this website is cool. It makes the consumer feel as though they can be just as cool by purchasing Dr. Martens products. Mind you, this is just on the homepage. The website immediately grabs the consumers attention. Navigating the website is made easy by the menu bar and filter features. Overall, the Dr. Martens website is well made.
The Zara website is quite frustrating to navigate. While I will admit, it is visually gorgeous, it feels like a portfolio rather than a shopping site. When a visitor scrolls on the homepage, the background image switches. All the homepage does is showcase photography. It does not entice consumers to buy the product. The menu bar consists of six options: woman, man, kids, home, Massimo Dutti, and beauty. By selecting woman a drop down menu appears with way too many options. Not to mention, all the options are aligned to the left for some odd reason. Overall, this website does not use digital rhetoric to it’s advantage.