The website I am going to do an analysis of is the website for the Game Informer Magazine.

Rhetorical Analysis:

The purposes of this website are to provide the general gaming community with extended information from what is in the actual Game Informer Magazine and to promote the sale of both their magazine and the video games the magazine/website feature.

The audience, as I indicated in the previous sentence is the large community of gamers that subscribes to the magazine. The probable readers/viewers of this page are more than likely men between the ages of 16 and 30, based on the content, language, and the way in which games are promoted and displayed on the website. Most readers are probably either high school or college students, or they are casual older gamers who either aren’t married or have jobs which allow them enough free time to casually play. You can tell this because the home page promotes games that look like they are going to be the best-selling games of the month. For instance, right now, the home page’s primary banner features a game called “Batman: Arkham City” and the game, being a re-imagined Batman adventure, is definitely going to be a popular title and who like the thrill of adventure will be more inclined to peruse the website’s archives for more information on that game for sure. There are several other feature stories on the website’s main page that are relevant to gaming culture and are possibly points of interests for gamers. The basic value that readers will share with the website is the idea of holding gaming to a high standard and a primary or secondary hobby. The website definitely encourages readers to seek more information about games that they are eagerly waiting to be released and from that information given, desire to own the upcoming game even more than when the readers began to view the website.

The plethora of information available to consumers covering a variety of topics helps build the website’s credibility in the consumer’s mind. Not only is this information available, but several articles link out to interviews with game and console developers and console websites that have released the information that is covered in the various articles on the GameInformer website, which adds to the authorial image of the magazine and builds its credibility. The articles also directly cite developers and companies when mentioning information about titles that have yet to be released.

Design Analysis:

The website’s design in terms of the seven elements is relatively even.

Color: The website’s use of color is quite interesting because the background, as one can see from the above image, is gray and the body of the website’s background is white with black text, in many cases bolded. This monochromatic color scheme allows for easy contrasting and emphasis on links, important information, or noteworthy article highlights. An interesting feature of the website is that next to the search bar, there is a switch that allows the viewer to change the color scheme of the website from the above-mentioned scheme to a black website background with a black body text background and gray font.

The page as it normally is.

Push the button!

The same page, after the color scheme has changed.

I think this usage of color both adds to the appeal of the magazine’s website and changes the color palette in such a way that the information is more appealing because the website looks better because of how much sharper the colors are against the black background.

Balance: The website is fairly balanced in its layout at the start. The magazine’s homepage, at the top, very contained, but as the viewer scrolls down, the website’s articles just seem to go on forever. On the “News” subpage, the same problem is present, only the page isn’t balanced throughout because at a certain point, the news stories stop and the other features on the right side of the page keep going.

And there's still more to the page...

I think that there is a significant need to condense the information on the right side of the page so that the page has a more orderly look. The editors’ blog links don’t need to be there, as they have their own headline heading at the top of the page, and the Facebook “Like” button can be the blue Facebook icon like on so many other pages.

Contrast: The site’s use of contrast is quite brilliant because, as I’ve discussed earlier, the color scheme changes, and yet the site still retains its sense of contrast. On the “News” page, there is a scrolling news feed which features top stories. Each story has its own number, which viewers can keep track of because the number of the article that the slider is on is highlighted in blue, contrasting it against the featured articles the viewer is not on.

Contrast is also used in the webpage’s headline bar with regards to using the color orange to highlight what section of the website the viewer is on. The orange provides a stark contrast against the monochromatic scheme of the website’s background so that the viewer never needs to wonder what section of the website he or she is on.

Right now, you would be on the “Home” page.

Alignment: The website’s alignment is fairly consistent. All text is aligned on the left side of the page or article. There is a clear “alignment border”, if you will, on the homepage that separates the larger article thumbnails from the various featurettes on the right hand side of the page. All images are consistent with one another, underneath the “Featured” banner, in that they are all relatively the same size and aligned on the left hand side of their respective boxes, as one can see in the image below.

This alignment gives off a sense of order and organization, although the website is a bit information-heavy. The alignment helps to control the clutter that might be perceived by the reader upon his or her first glance at the website.

Repetition: The color blue is repeated throughout the website and it is this use of repetition that keeps the website’s layout from looking bland or unseemly. The spots of color against a monochromatic background/layout provide the reader with enough visual stimulation to keep him or her engaged. The blue color also allows readers to make a connection between important links and articles with that color because most of the headlines on the website are that sharp blue color. Basically, that color is repeated so much in such an important context that readers will immediately associate the color with important and noteworthy information, even if the blue is found in an article and it links readers to another article.

See all the blue?

Emphasis: To say that the blue is used to emphasize aspects of the website would be an obvious statement; however, other aspects of the website use different ways to employ emphasis in the design. For instance, on the homepage, screenshots or artwork from the games that featured articles give details about, are used to draw the reader’s attention, such as the screenshot below.

The bold purple against the white background is an instant eye-catcher, while that blue entices the reader to read the article completely. Also used to emphasize articles, as the reader can see, is the significantly larger headline text. This further draws the reader’s eye to the article and entices him or her to, of course, read it and comment on it. Comments are tracked by the speech bubble with the number 4 in it and I know a lot of people are obsessed with being one of the first to comment on posts like this, so I think emphasizing the number of people who have commented on an article is good for two reasons: 1) They feel like they’re a part of the article and 2) Who doesn’t want to read a really popular article? I’d feel like I was missing out.

Flow: Based on the above analyses of the different design elements used in this website, I would say that the website’s overall flow both works and doesn’t work. The website’s design is consistent throughout the different pages and articles on the website, so that aspect is beneficial to viewers. I just can’t get over the way that the website is so out of balance with that huge block of white space after the main articles on the home page. That kind of design flaw is maybe overlook-able on a different page within the website, but I think it is extremely disruptive to the flow of the webpage. Other pages, however, have a good sense of flow because they are very consistent with the way in which they are designed and use the spaces in which they occupy wisely. Articles have a basic format: 1.) Game image 2.) Body 3.) Comments/Likes and even though featurettes fill the spaces next to the articles, both sets of information (articles and featurettes) are aligned in such a way that it is not cluttered and they do not compete with one another.

Design and Rhetorical Analysis:

Going back to the balance problem, I think that readers are less inclined to scroll all the way down the page to “Like” the website on Facebook or follow it on Twitter, or even click the Staff Blog links that seem to take up the majority of the space on the right hand side of the webpage. I think that this hinders the rhetorical needs from being met by just causing the reader to be bored with the website. That’s not something one wants to achieve on the home page of their website. Other than that, I think the other design elements help the rhetorical needs to be met. The emphasized texts connect curious readers to information of interest and related posts, and by so doing, maintains the viewer’s interest. 

Copyright and Attribution:

Anytime information about game development is given, the website directly cites developers and the developers’ websites so that readers who want confirmation on facts, if they feel like they need it, can go directly to the website or search the name of the person cited for the direct quote to that information. Video interviews are also implemented to give viewers information about upcoming games and statistics concerning those games. Most interviews are with Game Artists, Graphic Designers, or Developers who work on the game projects that are featured in the articles, thus solidifying the website’s credibility within the gaming community.