Andrew Thorp

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On Website Branding and Navigation: Contextualizing Online Arguments


I recently read a post about website branding and navigation.
The author discussed his experiments "branding", such as banners and links to other sites/pages.
Ultimately he came to the conclusion that "branding" is critical for navigation.
That is to say the banners and footers are necessary because they act as a visual language we unknowingly use to navigate websites.
Readers have a hard time finding their way around without this visual language, if the author is correct.
However I this conclusion is incomplete.

The real answer, I believe, is context.
When you read a post, especially an opinion piece or blog post, context is critical to assessing the authors argument.
Immediately after reading an article I will often navigate to other posts or the "about me" page in order to better understand the perspective of the author and in turn the context of the post.
Is the privacy article being written by a consumer or by an expert?
Is the author financially invested in your response to the article (see: every cryptocurrency post every)?
That difference may, or even should, make you reevaluate an argument, no matter how strong.

Ironically, this argument is strengthened by reading more about the author's website; he doesn't have many blog posts to link together, he has a number of subdomains and hosted services.
With that context, I understood better that "contextualizing an argument" may be less important to the author than simply navigating, but without that context, I could never have fully understood his argument.