texts and urban cultural change in Taiwan: a view through the semiotic
University of Luton
Taiwan today appears to have reached a cultural and political crossroads.
The islands political destiny ie, continued independence
as a nation-state or, alternatively, absorption into greater China
will determine Taiwans future cultural identity and also re-define
the complex and surprisingly diverse cultural influences which co-exist
within the island today. (Copper, 1999) After the resumption of sovereignty
over Hong Kong in 1997 and the return of Macao in 1999, only Taiwan remains
just beyond Beijing's reach. The election of President Chen Shui-bian
in 2000, together with his Democratic Peoples Partys open
support for Taiwanese autonomy from China (the so-called two China
model) has recently served to challenge Kuomintang (KMT) political orthodoxy
and influence on the island. Recent national elections to the 5th legislative
Yuan assembly have confirmed support for the DPP. (Gao, 2002) Local county
elections have also demonstrated increased competition in the form of
emergent parties such as the PFP (People First Party), who gained control
of the counties of Taitung and Lienchang for the first time earlier this
Indeed, within Taiwan today, there are those who see reunification with
China as desirable and inevitable through a process of convergence or
assimilation (ie, those who support the so-called one China
model) as well as many who yearn for Taiwan to establish a fully independent
identity. Taiwan has, since Japanese occupation of the island ended in
1945, sought to construct a viable postcolonial national identity by resisting
American hegemony and Beijings growing regional power. Until recently
this policy has served to validate KMT dominance of the island. However,
this dominance and policy is now being increasingly challenged. (Fu-sheng,
2001) Taiwan achieved a notable political and economic milestone through
accession to the WTO (World Trade Organisation) in October 2001. WTO membership
is likely to increase the pace of cultural change through increased globalisation.
A revised internal political agenda is now leading to active reinterpretation
of some of the turbulent events that have shaped the islands past,
such as the so-called Feb. 28th incident. (see Edmonds et al, 2001 for
a comprehensive 20th century retrospective) Regional Asia-Pacific influences
are also playing an increasing role in defining the nations culture
sense of national identity as part of a greater China. (Wilson, 2001)
Against this complex and enfolding pattern of events, we identify eCulture
as a significant internal agent for change, particularly amongst urban
populations, where the vast majority of Taiwanese reside. By eCulture
we mean widespread access and use of various Internet-mediated forms of
discourse, such as e-commerce. A brief description of Taiwans cultural
heritage follows, in which we seek to place our informal semiotic analysis
of exemplar web-site texts within an appropriate frame of reference.
We later include an all too brief mention of rural Taiwan, which is worthy
of far more extensive treatment, but for reasons of space has had to be
largely excluded from our analysis. Nevertheless, it is perhaps important
to point out at this point that the ethnic composition of both urban and
rural populations is uniquely diverse and includes: Hoklo and Hakka (native
Taiwanese), nine aboriginal tribes and mainlanders from every
part of China. This ethnic and linguistic diversity has impacted on the
nations postcolonial national identity and culture. Indeed, our
examination of Taiwanese culture is perhaps timely, given the launch of
a Government-led national initiative aimed at reviving cultural diversity
in the context of WTO membership, including plans to create a virtual
Taiwans cultural heritage
prides itself in maintaining Chinese traditional cultural values. The
National Palace Museum contains many thousands of fine Chinese cultural
artefacts, dating from all periods of Chinese history, which were saved
for posterity by nationalist forces fleeing mainland China. Unlike modern
day China, Taiwan allows virtually complete freedom of religious worship.
Consequently, we find Taoist, Buddhist as well as various native folk
religions happily co-existing with newer cults such as the controversial
Falungong sect, which is banned in China. (Ownby, 2001; Taipei Review,
2001) Spirituality in its widest sense appears to be heavily embedded
into the collective Taiwanese consciousness. Any casual visitor to Taiwan
immediately notices the profusion of street temples. Many homes contain
a simple religious shrine of some kind, and various local religious festivals
and practices take place throughout the year such as the popular practice
of burning ghost money, most notably during ghost month
(the lunar-month of July) and Chinese New Year.
Taiwan has so far resisted widespread penetration of English. Instead
a wide variety of oral dialects remain intact. Traditional Mandarin is
the preferred language of written communication, rather than the simplified
form long since adopted by China. Traditional Mandarin is taught in schools
and even today, university education is conducted almost exclusively in
Mandarin. Taiwanese (a local oral dialect) is also widely used at all
levels of society for day-to-day communication. However, we must be careful
not to over-simplify. The diversity of socio-linguistic codes in Taiwan
includes (at least) Taiwanese, Mandarin, Hakka and various aboriginal
languages. Any casual visitor to Taipei notices immediately the absence
of the English language since, apart from dual-language road-signs, there
is little use of English on public display, even in downtown Taipei, or
indeed, any of the major cities such as Taichung or Kaohsiung. Compared
to many cities in South East Asia of similar size and importance, penetration
of English language and culture is far less apparent. Rather, at a street
level one is presented with rich local signification and vibrant local
iconography, still showing little obvious influences of globalisation.
The family unit in Taiwan is immensely significant, as in China. However,
in contrast to Chinas controversial one-child policies, large families
have, until recently, been the norm. The family provides support in many
ways including social and financial needs. It is commonplace for parents
to save money to meet childrens study fees and similarly, children
are expected to provide regular contributions to support their parents.
The extended family concept traditionally influences choice of marriage
partner, and sex before marriage is certainly not encouraged. Traditional
gender roles and values of morality have heretofore been dominant, as
have traditional womens roles, though these are now changing rapidly.
Linguistically, spiritually, socially and culturally, Taiwan, as much
as mainland China itself, therefore, can be seen in many ways be seen
to represent cultural continuity for a Chinese cultural heritage, which
has been continuously evolving and developing over the past several thousand
Times are changing: the rise of urban eCulture
eCulture is acting as a dynamic agent for change in Taiwan. Consequently,
wide-ranging effects on society family and business are being reported.
Taiwan has long been on early Internet adopter with usage reaching an
estimated 35% of the entire population by March 20025. Global Brand signs
such as McDonalds, Carrefour and Ikea have started to penetrate the Tapei
City skyline and over 5000 cybercafes are now registered in Taiwan. Brand
led hyper-consumerism has been identified as an area of concern, and is
indeed, transforming urban shopping culture. (Miranda, 1999); Gao, 2001)
Traditional family Confucian values of obedience and loyalty are more
generally being questioned. The rigid and demanding Japanese-style university
entrance exams, together with their vast cram-school culture are being
increasingly challenged by calls for the adoption of more flexible and
open Western models. (Mu-Lin, 2000)
Therefore, eCulture can be seen as an agent for change in several ways:
cultural values are being challenged by free access by the young to
e-pornography within a country which still cherishes traditional sexual
morality. Concerns have recently been raised concerning the rapid
growth in the readership of highly explicit cartoons (known as porno-comics)
commonly to be found in cartoon-lending shops. The rise in popularity
of such texts is assumed to be linked to wider unregulated Internet
access, particularly amongst the young. (Kao, 2001)
is forcing rapid change, reform, and innovation in all forms of business
including retail banking and eFinance. Most of Taiwans banks
now offer Internet-mediated on-line bank account access using personal
computers or mobile devices. Many Taiwan banks have recently adopted
an XML (Extensible Markup Language) information architecture which
facilitates impersonal business to business or business to consumer
transactions, rather than supporting traditional Chinese trading models
which value face-to-face business relationships based on guansxi collectivist
trust relationships. (Horng, 2001)
|3. Youth culture
is rapidly adopting new modes of behaviour, such as the explosive
growth in cybercafes, where unregulated access to the Internet is
exposing Taiwanese youth to a world culture not available to past
generations. Youth culture is demanding cybercafes and coffeehouses
rather than more traditional venues. Young people are relating increasingly
to role models derived from USA or Japanese cultures, due to Internet
exposure and adoption of fashionable mobile phone technologies.
|4. Social and
economic mpact: the effects of eCulture go far beyond the cultural
domain. Many observers see Taiwan, as over-exposed economically to
high-technology products and exports. Domestic initiatives such as
the Hsinchu High-Tech Business Park account for much of the growth
of such industries in recent years. The severity of the economic recession
currently being experienced in Taiwan, is one indication of this over-exposure.
Countryside values and cultural diversity
The rural economys strong agricultural orientation supports a diverse
mix of various indigenous ethnic groups, each with their own distinctive
character. The Government is, after many years of repression, taking steps
to actively support such aboriginal peoples. These groups include: the
Yami people of Orchid Island, the Ami people of the rugged west coast,
and the Paiwan of Southern Taiwan. Their geographical distribution shown
below in Figure 1:
Figure 1. Geographical distribution of aboriginal
urban Taiwan may be rushing to embrace eCulture and high technology, (ie,
becoming part of the Global Village) some countryside peoples have a quite
different set of priorities. For indigenous groups (who form a relatively
small proportion of the whole rural population and who are vastly outnumbered
by those from a broadly defined Chinese ethnic background) preservation
of their own unique cultural identity remains uppermost. Thus, for members
of the nine tribal groups, whether living in rural areas or having migrated
to the cities, eCulture may well be largely irrelevant.
Given the diverse nature of Taiwan, it is to be expected that at least
some of this diversity will be reflected in texts of various
types. By text we mean both texts such as magazines, newspapers,
books, poetry, literature, film and music, religious settings and gatherings,
temple and high-street shopping iconography (such as the misuse
of English on retail consumer goods), as well as newer texts such as the
Internet, including eCommerce web-sites.
has been chosen as our preferred paradigm to examine the interrelationship
between culture and text largely because of its proven strength in identifying
and interpreting signs embedded in textual narratives of various
kinds, as well as in wider social and cultural settings. eFinance texts
have been chosen as our domain of interest simply because they are so
widely used, and also because the domestic financial sector has already
begun to respond to both local and global forces for change (ie, domestic
deregulation and globalisation) as Her observes:
will make inroads into the market... the domestic [banking] sector
must step up its efforts to win a competitive edge... by developing
new products, on-line banking services
the Government has in
recent years accelerated financial sector reforms... one
significant regulation, the Financial Merger Law was enacted in
November 2000 to achieve greater economies of scale... another new
regulation is the financial holding Company Law, enacted in June
2001 to promote financial integration. (Her, 2002)
Semiotic insights have been shown to directly inform aspects of culture.
Active writers in the field of cultural semiotics include Sonesson (2000),
Haarmann (2000) and numerous others. Similarly, there have been sustained
efforts to link generic cultural differences and characteristics to aspects
of software product localisation and globalisation. (Hofstede, 1991; Kersten
et al, 2000; Day & Dunckley, 2001) Semiotics is the discipline of
everything that produces meaning. It has been called the science
of signs. More specifically, it is the discipline which connects
meaning, meaning making, communication and culture through an understanding
of acts of signification. A great variety of semiotic discourses and traditions,
most noticeably that of Peirce (1931), Saussure (1966), and Eco (1976)
have been applied to the field of IT. These include the work of Anderson
(1997), Liu, (2000), and French, Polovina and Vile (1999). There have
also been various collaborative initiatives such as the Shared Meanings
Design Framework, (http://www.smdf.org)
Semiotics for the HCI Community (http://www.code.uni-wuppertal.de/uk/hci/welcome.html),
the Semiotics Engineering Research Group and the Semiotics Special
Interest Group. We present below a set of working hypotheses which
also seem to represent some points of common agreement derived from the
various semiotic schools, writers, research groups, traditions and approaches
mentioned above. Figure 2, which follows, presents a simple conceptual
model, which shows how web-site signification might be related to wider
Figure 2. How web-site content might relate to
wider cultural dimensions
|1. Users give
meanings to signs, based on personal perceptions and experiences,
as well as specific cultural contexts, acts, values, experiences and
norms; in a sense every text and form of human communication can be
considered to be culturally defined.
|2. The Human
Computer Interface of a typical web-site is a rich source of signification
(images, adverts, attractors of various kinds, culturally specific
signs, text, icons, hypertext links and metaphors) ie, it is
just another form of human communication, but one with unique qualities
mediated by the computer.
kinds of web-site content are related to wider cultural phenomena
and vice versa.
|4. Web sites
transmit cultural messages to users, some of these may be explicit
and intentional; others may be subtle, and implicit.
5. Web site
content is differentially perceived across cultural and linguistic
boundaries this has practical implications for re-designing
a site from one country to another, since this act of localisation
involves far more than mere translation.
6. To semioticians, a web-site is just another text, capable of being
analysed, and interpreted using established methods of semiotic textual
sign in this context means: a textual cue, a colour, an image, an icon,
a navigation cue, an advert, or other so-called web-site attractors. (Fink,
1999) Semioticians view an interface as a self-consistent sign system
which is intrinsically capable of being differentially decoded by users
depending on a users cultural background together with a whole host
of other influencing factors. Semiotics does not recognise for example,
that any particular sign is truly universal it all
rather depends on context, both local and global.
A fundamental semiotic principle of particular relevance is that both
the context of the sign and the interpretant of the sign alter the meaning
of the sign itself. Thus, for example the difference between an icon and
its meaning is highly flexible and not intrinsically quantifiable.
From our earlier discussion, it is clear that urban culture is rapidly
evolving. We believe that an analysis of web-site signification can reveal
contemporary wider social and cultural phenomena (ie, we can reverse engineer
some of the wider cultural factors previously identified from live web-site
texts). Indeed, the strength of semiotic analysis lies in its ability
not only to infer cultural factors from signs embedded in texts, but also
from its ability to embrace signification operating at social, organisational
and workgroup level. (Prates et al, 1997) We have chosen below to present
an informal analysis of signs embedded within selected Taiwanese eFinance
banking web-sites in order to establish some links between specific site
signification and some cultural factors we have discussed earlier.
Empirical Study of web-site texts some informal examples
A survey of some popular retail Banking eFinance web-sites was undertaken
during September 2001 using a semiotic checklist evaluation instrument.
These sites represent a rich repository of cultural signification, well
beyond the scope of the present paper. Our methodology also involved gaining
access to family, business and social sources of signification. Our method
including sources of signification and interpretation are detailed below
in Figure 3. We now go on to present a few informal examples to
illustrate our general approach. Also an exemplar mind-map
is reproduced in Appendix B and it relates to Figure 5 which follows.
Interpretation: SinoPac Bank
SinoPac Bank is widely regarded as one of the early adopters of e-commerce
banking and as such has relatively well established English language and
Mandarin sites. SinoPac have deliberately chosen to use a very specific
form of local iconography (the image of the double-fish sign),
which decorates the exterior of their head-office building in downtown
Taipei for local users, whilst projecting a neutral image Welcome
to SinoPac Bank: we grow your assets to US/ English investors. The
double-fish sign can be seen to be strongly culturally bound,
(ie, users give meaning to signs based on their local contextual and cultural
cues) as follows:
|1. The meaning
of the double-fish sign is dual it serves as a
visual reminder to local residents who are familiar with the exterior
physical decoration of the building
2. The sign
more generally seeks to convey the message of prosperity
something will always be left over each year after a Chinese
New Year feast.
Finally, such prominent site signification can be seen to project
a more general cultural message: whilst the Bank is using e-mediated
forms of commerce and addressing global e-Markets, it is, nevertheless,
cherishing traditional Chinese values.
Interpretation: Yu Shan Bank
Here site signification makes little attempt to be inclusive. There is
no English language version, only Mandarin. The brand sign used here has
an entirely local significance, since the name of the bank is derived
from Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) symbolism, the highest mountain-peak
in Taiwan. The message this brand sign transmits seeks to reinforce local
rituals, since anecdotally, it is said that the founder of the bank still
encourages all senior staff to climb the mountain every year (to engage
in a collective symbolic act invoking the spirit of the mountain). Notice
also the images of people presented here they represent only a
single ethnic group. Signification does not seek to address the needs
of a wider audience. Clearly a niche player, representing local cultural
continuity, rather than change.
Interpretation: Grand Commercial Bank
This site seeks to exploit a particular form of shopping culture, common
in urban Taiwan, which promulgates use of cartoon characters to market
and promote sales (The site home page reproduced above is offering customers
a Pokemon promotion). The surprising and visually striking signification
and images appear alien to an English viewers expectations of bank
site content. This imagery shows strong Japanese influences and can be
related to the success of a particular Taiwanese Hello Kitty
credit card directed mainly towards young women. The use of cartoon
iconography forms part of a wider Asia-Pacific shopping cultural phenomena,
in which the traditional Asian cultural aversion to borrowing and use
of credit cards is being ameliorated through the use of youth-oriented
branding using cartoon characters (Hui, 2001). One can also perhaps suggest
links between the striking site signification used here, with the rapidly
expanding urban cult of urban comic-lending shops and comic-culture we
have mentioned previously.
Interpretation: Fubon Bank
English language web-site shows much stronger influences of global values
and images and does not appear to address local cultural factors to any
great extent. The site projects a strong, but somewhat stereotypical financial
iconography, comprising images of modern office buildings, various key
statistics, and financial graphics (ie, familiar global financial signs).
Indeed, the site signification is deliberately generic, so as to attract
global, rather than local investors.
These exemplar sites reveal a complex mix of signification: some signs
appear to reflect entirely local cultural dimensions, whilst wider influences
such as Asia-Pacific regional and Japanese inspired hyper-consumerism
(cartoon and toy promotions) are evident in the imagery used in the Grand
Commercial Bank and SinoPac homepages. In contrast, Fubon Bank appears
to represent a more homogenised global value eFinance ideology, indistinguishable
perhaps, from any banking site worldwide. What, if anything, can we conclude?
Perhaps only that this diversity and specificity of web-site design is
itself a reflection of an equally diverse set of influences and heterogeneous
cultural phenomena operating within modern Taiwan today.
At a macro-level, Taiwan appears to represent cultural continuity through
its inheritance and nurture of Chinese cultural artifacts, language and
Confucian values, including freedom of religious expression. Yet, paradoxically,
Taiwan presents a country rapidly adopting cultural innovation and change
through a rapidly evolving eCulture. It is perhaps doubtful whether Taiwan
can continue to support traditional Confucian values whilst embracing
the new. Can an eCulture barely five years old challenge traditional cultural
values with a 5000-year-old pedigree? Can eCulture and tradition happily
co-exist? The European Union is seeking to resolve similar cultural dilemmas
by actively supporting the use of e-mediation to preserve European culture
through its Digital Cultural Heritage initiative. Such initiatives appear
to demonstrate that eCulture can be used to advantage as a powerful preservation
force, as well as a force for dynamic change.
We have demonstrated that eCulture texts can be interpreted so that their
value as analytic agents can be harvested (ie, by viewing such texts through
a semiotic lens we can, perhaps glimpse wider cultural phenomena). Thus,
such texts can be seen not only as simply agents for change but also as
viewing platforms, from which vantage point, local and global internet
viewers users can trace dynamic cultural change as it occurs, and is reflected
in live web-site signification. Our own vantage point has been necessarily
a limited one. An extension to our work, comprising a wider analysis of
signification used in temples, street signs, rural settings, youth cultures,
and shopping contexts is needed before we can begin to build any comprehensive
semiotic model of Taiwanese cultural texts and phenomena. As Kersten observes:
There is no solid theory that links software to culture, or the way
ideas and values are implemented in software. Such a theory requires
and needs to go beyond the consideration of the surface manifestations
of culture that have been widely accepted
hope that our initial work may point the way towards developing such a
theory. Commercial application areas include web-site localisation and
globalisation, marketing and digital brand analysis and related areas.
However, we are only beginning to systematically read web-site content
with any authority, and to relate specific kinds of web-content to specific
cultural factors, phenomena and ideologies operating within particular
countries of the world. For one thing, the semiotics of eCulture appears
to be at a formative and immature stage as compared to the semiotics of
literary, film and media texts. We hope therefore, that others will extend
and improve upon our initial work, particularly since computer-mediated
web-site texts are assuming an ever-greater role in our everyday lives
and collective cultural consciousness.
Andersen, P (1997) A Theory of Computer Semiotics, Cambridge University
Copper, John F (1999) Taiwan: Nation State or Province?,3rd Edition,
Westview Press: Colorado.
Cornberg, David (1996) Semaphor: A meeting of metaphor and semiosis
in the streets of Taipei, Semiotica, 109 3 /4, 251-282.
Day R & Dunckley, L (2001) Designing for Global markets 3
Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Internationalisation
of products and systems, Open University.
Eco, Umberto (1976) A Theory of Semiotics, Indiana University Press:
Edmonds, R L and Goldstein, S (2001) Taiwan in the 20th Century,
Special Issue, The China Quarterly, 165.
Fink D And Laupase, R (1999), Perceptions of Web Site Attractors
and their Effectiveness: An East/West Comparison, Proceedings
of the Seventh European Conference of Information Systems, Copenhagen
Business School, Copenhagen, 157-170.
Fuh-Sheng, Hsieh (2001) Whither the Kuomintang?, The China
Quarterly, 168, 930-943.
Gao, Pat (2002), Raising Cultural Consciousness, Taipei
Review, 51,.12, 4-13.
French, T & Polovina, S (2001) WAP through the semiotic lens,
Proceedings of the Mobilize International. Workshop: interventions
in the social, cultural and interactional analysis of mobility, ubiquity
and information and communication technology, Surrey University, May
French, T, Polovina, S & Vile, A (1999) Semiotics for E-commerce:
shared meanings and generative futures, Proceedings of the Ninth
BIT International Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Gao, Pat (2001) 'Cash in cash out, Taipei Review, September,
Harmann, H (2000) Constructing culture: the realm of sign systems
and beyond, Semiotica, 132,3 / 4, 343.
Her, Kelly (2002) Trade Talk, Taipei Review, April,
Hofstede, G (1991), Culture and Organisation: Software of the Mind,
New York: McGraw Hill.
Horng, S (2001) Moving ahead with e-banking, available on-line
Hui, F, Pasa, M & Sherman, M (2001) 'Giving Asia some credit', Asia-Inc,
Kao, R (2001) Fun and Games, Taipei Review, September,
Kersten, G E, Matwin, S, Noronha, S & Kersten, A (2000) The
Software for Cultures and the Cultures for Software, Proceedings
of the Eighth European Conference on Information Systems, Vienna,
Liu, Kecheng (2000) Semiotics in Information Systems Engineering,
Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Carl H (2001) 'Mobile Phones, WAP and the Internet', Research Centre of
Bornholm, Denmark, available on-line at http://www.rcb.dk.
Miranda, C C (1999) , "Hello Kitty": A semiotic phenomenon
within the complex system of Asian hyper-consumption cultures, Sign
Processes in Complex Systems/Zeichenprozesse in komplexen Systemen,
Technische Universitat Dresden, Germany, October 3-6.
Mu-Lin, L (2000) ROC Higher-education reform in the context of globalization,
Text of a lecture given by the vice Minister for Education at the ACUCA
Conference: Asian Christian Higher Education in the Context of Globalization,
Taichung, October 24-27. Available on line at: http://www.edu.tw/bicer/english/eb7.htm
Ownby, D (2001) Falungong as a cultural Revitalization Movement:
An Historian looks at Contemporary China, transcript of a talk given
at Rice University, Dept. of Asian Studies, History and the Centre for
the Study of Cultures.
Prates, R, de Souza, C & Garcia, A (1997) Semiotic Framework
for Multi-user interfaces, SIGCHI Bulletin, 29, 2, 28-39.
Saussure, Ferdinand de (1966) Course in General Linguistics, New
Sonesson, G (2000) Ego meets Alter: the meaning of otherness in
cultural semiotics, Semiotica, 132, 3/4, 537-559.
Smith, A, (2001) French, T, Chang, Yu & McNeill, Marc eCulture:
A Comparitive Study of eFinance Web Site Usability for Chinese and British
Users, Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Internationalisation
of Products and Systems, 87-100.
Wilson, R (2000), Imagining Asia-Pacific: Forgetting
politics and colonialism in the magical waters of the Pacific, an Americanist
critique, Journal of Cultural Studies, 14, 3/4, 562-592.
Wit de B, & Meyer, R (1999) 'Strategy Synthesis: Resolving
strategy paradoxes to create competitive advantage', Thompson International
Business Press, 403-6.
Taipei Review (2001) Special Issue: The Winds of Faith,
APPENDIX A: Semiotic evaluation instrument and web-site taxonomy
a) initial heuristic (semiotic) check-list of eFinance site
| Did the site engender trust using signification? (images,
brands, text, icons)
if so please state which sign types were
used which you perceived to engender trust and security.
SIGN TYPES USED
|Does the site make consistent use of signs
or images or textual cues? (BRANDING?) If so did you find the look
and feel to be convincing
SIGN TYPES USED
|Was there any obvious support for those with a disability?
|Could the site be potentially accessible by someone
from another culture?
|Were there any images or content which were culturally
bound? Did the site project a particular value system?
|Did the site project a consistent BRAND identity of
the business? Was this image consistent with other forms of advertising
or branding? Was the image positive? Did you get a feel for the actual
size of the business?
|Did the site make you feel at home
i.e. confident or were you anxious about making mistakes or where
to look for services or products? How was the CRM aspects handled
(customer help facilities?)
Phone number, e-mail, FAQ
|Were the signs and images assembled into a consistent
metaphor (or did they appear to be randomly organised
b) simplified list of computer-based signs (to be used in
conjunction with the semiotic evaluation instrument)
- ICONS (representational, abstract, arbitrary design)
- IMAGES Photos (b/w), colour
- Wallpaper , background colours/pallettes used
- NAVIGATION CONTROLS (arrows, buttons)
- Hypertext links
- TRUST signs
- SECURITY signs/information
- PRODUCT information (descriptions/prices)
- PDF signs
- Virtual tours, VR signs,
- Animated banner advertising
APPENDIX B: Exemplar 'mind-map' for Yu-Shan digital
NB This paper is dedicated to my darling wife ho-shin Chang and our extended
family both in the UK and Taiwan, for their love, guidance and constructive