Planning Your Site Genre
by © 2006 ~ June Kaminski, MSN PhD(c)
Most sites, even personal ones that feature your varied interests, are built around a particular mood that is reflected in the colors chosen, the fonts used, the images displayed and the actual content of the site. It is very helpful, especially for the inexperienced web builder to select a particular genre and to stick with it, in order to create a site that reflects the designer's intent. "
Genre gives Direction for the Site's Mood
Most sites, even personal ones that feature your varied interests, are built around a particular mood that is reflected in the colors chosen, the fonts used, the images displayed and the actual content of the site. It is very helpful, especially for the inexperienced web builder to select a particular genre and to stick with it, in order to create a site that reflects the designer's intent.
This initial genre work will help you to then move on to decide the metaphor, navigation schemes and other aesthetic components of the design - all aspects that are best planned while keeping your content in mind. If you are creating a website about newborns, all of the above are going to be quite different than ones you would choose to present a topic like death and dying. Both fit a totally different genre, so each would require a different presentation style. This is especially important if you are hoping to attract a lot of visitors to your site - keep the nuance and the atmosphere of the site cohesive, and people will perceive it as 'more professional' in design.
What is a Genre?
Historically, the term genre has been used when classifying literature, music, art, and more recently, movies, and new media productions including web sites. All genres have distinctive style, form, and content.
Common genres that could be found in any of these mediums include:
- horror, gothic
- science fiction
- children's stories
- wholesome family
- natural world
- self improvement
- discipline (arts, science, philosophy, etc.)
Each genre appeals to at least one particular audience or community: which is important to web site owners and designers. Seeing your site through your audience's eyes and perceptions is critically important, if you want your site to be a success.
Working with your Genre
The best way to approach the selection or identification of your genre is to sit with pad and pen and think about your site in reverie mode. Think about what you want to share, convey, sell, or teach your audience. What genre does this content fit? Once you have identified your genre, write down your thoughts about the following:
One of my web sites: Healing Intent was created in 2001. The slogan for this site is "Apply your focus & intent to create optimal wellness and health". The Genre specifics for that site are:
- Main Topic of Site: Holistic health of body, mind, heart, and spirit
- Genre: Self development
- Mood Suggested: Aesthetic, warmth, elegant, natural world
- Metaphor Suggested: Steadfastness and elegance - the web of life, beautiful young woman (my friend), a Crane and Bonsai Tree
- Color Scheme: Pastel background, earthy green text, buttons, main graphics, etheric images
- Document Styles: articles for self improvement in four categories, community ICTs, artwork, coaching service, meditations
- Intended Audience: People from around the globe
Here is a Genre Worksheet for you to download and use as you decide on your genre and related components. Even if your content is all products or services that you want to sell, there is still a genre suggested by your goods or your talents.
Once this is done, you can begin to work on the aesthetics, navigation and number of pages that will be included in each of the major sections. Other articles in this series will help you with these next steps.
© June Kaminski Published: 2006.