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Lesson 5 Using signs
Objective How signs are design devices

Using signs for arranging information

Explain how signs are design devices that are used to create meaning on a website.
When reading a book, people interpret how letters are arranged in words, sentences, and paragraphs to create meaning. The letters serve as signs, or design devices, to aid interpretation. Similarly, when reading Web pages, people view a set of signs. Signs commonly used on Web pages include:

History of Web Content

In the early years of the Web, content still took a back seat. On a typical Web project, if the writer got paid X, then the graphic designer got paid 2X, whoever did some basic programming and HTML got 3X, and, if there was advanced programming involved, then that person got 4X. In other words, the writer was the worst paid by far.
I was telling someone who runs a Web agency about this, and they agreed. In fact, they never tell a client that they are giving them a writer because they know that the rate will drop through the floor. They come up with some fancy name instead, something that sounds a bit technical.
Here is how a typical Web project used to work: IT spent lots of money on some content management software, which it then handed over to marketing, who in turn got a graphic design company to create some concepts. Half way through the project, someone mentioned that content would be needed for the website before it could be launched. The manager in charge of the project got the most junior person they could find to round up some content from the other departments. If this content was absolutely awful, the manager might get this junior person to rewrite it. Or perhaps they had a summer intern who could throw a few words together. That is how content was treated in many organizations.

Web Page Design Devices
People do not always interpret or react to signs in the same way, especially when the signs represent something abstract. It is important to consider the likely characteristics of your audience when you choose signs for a website.
For example, an elderly audience or an international audience might react differently than a teenage audience to signs you use.
In the next lesson, metaphors will be discussed to explain how to create meaning on a website.
Click the following link to read more about Design Devices Signs .