How to Analyse a Webpage

  • GASP (target audiences are very important for WebPages, as it may be hard to attract and keep people on your site due to the millions of others)
  • Look carefully for interesting features, grouping your ideas under the frameworks.  There are likely to be a lot of interesting discourse and graphology features.  Pragmatics are interesting in terms of the expectations the web designer and authors have of the reader.  Lexis, semantics, grammar and phonology will depend upon the content as to how much there is to say about these.
  • Look for norms and variations

Common features of WebPages, organised according to the dreaded frameworks.

If faced with a webpage to analyse, you might start by identifying key features, such as the ones in the table, organise your observations under the frameworks, then MOST IMPORTANTLY, discuss what these observations reveal about the context of the text



Possible reason for feature

Discourse Structure

  • Text is separated into sections which are interrelated
  • Text may be read in either linear or non-linear direction

-  Organisation of text is determined by the size and shape of the screen and the scrolling function

  • Structure of text, although varied, follows several established norms of webpage construction.
  • In the centre / at the top of webpage, the reader may be directly addressed.
  • Text may work in an inverted pyramid style, with the conclusion at the top.
  • One idea per paragraph
  • Hypertext links allow access to other sections / areas

Sections may allow access to other pages.



Many discourse features allow the text to be scannable.



Since people tend to scan WebPages, rather than read them, these need to be central.


Because users can access extra information via hyperlinks, there is no need for lengthy paragraphs.


  • Bulleted lists, with varying structures
  • Variety of sentence construction
  • May be frequent use of interrogatives and imperatives

Lists are scannable.

Varied sentence structures add clarity which is essential to a text with an international audience.

Must involve the reader and encourage them to use the site


-  Entirely dependent on genre, but will be audience and/or subject-directed.  So some kind of specific lexis is likely.

-  Lexis in many sites may be educated but undemanding

Cater for very wide audience.



-  May be interesting, depending on the content of the webpage…



-  Users are aware of how to navigate the structure of websites, so websites often assume knowledge of how to access information.

-  Register will vary depending on subject, genre and audience and is likely to vary within the site.

-  Style of English should be accessible to wide audience.

Assumption of shared knowledge.


-  variation in font style and size

-  upper and lower case letters

-  headings

-  colour

-  underlining

-  horizontal and vertical lists

-  dropdown menus

-  images

Enhance the organisation of the text, so support the discourse structure.


There will be lots of graphological items because the text itself depends on these for navigation.


High quality graphics add authenticity to the webpage and make it seem reliable.


Need for credibility


-  May be interesting depending on individual WebPages.


Ideas from language study

WebPages often give concise bits of information about many issues on a single page.  This fits in with Grice’s maxims of conversation: the webpage has information / entertainment to communicate, but because of the nature of technology, the information can be passed in different ways.  A user can easily see the relevant heading / paragraph and access the exact area sought for.  So, many websites are constructed to meet Grice’s maxims of relevance and quantity.


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