Website Culture: Ethos, Pathos, Logos
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Politics and Activism

Website Culture: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

What makes a website compelling?

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Website Culture: Ethos, Pathos, Logos
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Introduction

All good websites in the modern age should support a culture of pathos, ethos, and logos if they are to be successful in their purpose, which is usually to attract an audience. Some websites may emphasize one or two of these aspects (pathos, ethos, logos) more than the other, depending on what the website developer's goals are.

For an informative, scholarly website, less of an emphasis is placed on pathos, which is grounded in emotional appeal, and more attention is focused on ethos-- an ethics/standard-laden website based on credibility. A website like this will also encompass a great deal of logos, which includes the textual content and word structure contained on the site. The purpose of an informative or scholarly website should be clear--to educate the reader. Of course, not all informative websites are ethical or credible. Nowadays, anyone can post things on the Internet. We live in an age of misinformation, so it is the responsibility of the user to seek reliable information. It is important to search for websites created by a trustworthy source, containing information written by peer-reviewed authors.

A retail website, one which manufactures and sells products, is likely to put a large emphasis on pathos because consumers are more likely to buy goods when submerged in a heat of passion. Flashy images, colorful backgrounds, and alluring words are often what make successful pathos-based websites successful. Of course, any good retailer, whether they distribute goods online or not, must have an ethos which guides the manufacturing of their products. Nobody wants to return to a store or website if they receive crummy customer service and cheap, poorly-made products. For this reason, a website that sells goods must have an ethical standard if they wish to bring customers back.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) is a scholarly website maintained by faculty members at Stanford University which publishes expert, peer-reviewed philosophy papers and articles. Each article must pass through a board of examination before it can be published on the site, so the reader can feel easy knowing that he will be absorbing reliable information--this is an expression of the site's ethos.

The website is fairly plain and simple, but not excruciatingly boring. On the home page, you see some general information, a search bar, and a link to the site's bio. There isn't a whole lot going on in terms of ethos. The borders of the web pages are imbued with pleasant shades of red. At the top of each page rests the IEP logo, which sits next to large letters, reading "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy." The message is clear--this is a site dedicated to providing scholarly, reliable pieces of information.

SEP embraces a culture of ethos--expressed by the faculty's careful publication of articles--and logos, which is expressed in the well-crafted information found on each page. While the site doesn't fail in terms of pathos, it certainly isn't part of its prevailing culture.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com is one of the largest and most successful retailers on the web. Its purpose is simple--to provide consumers with a reliable product service.

Right from the start, upon opening Amazon, flashy images and ads spring up on the screen and immediately capture the viewer's attention. The home screen showcases popular Amazon products, and it even has a nice feature which displays items to the returning customer related to his recent purchases. It's almost like your own customizable store--neat! Amazon ships purchases in a timely fashion and most of the products are of an acceptable quality--the ethos of the organization. Of course, not all products are going to be satisfactory, which is why it is important to read product reviews.

Overall, Amazon functions by encompassing all three aspects of web culture--ethos, pathos, and logos. Reliable customer service, quick shipping, and quality products are what make the ethos of this site exemplary. The pathos of Amazon reveals itself in the bright, flashy ads and colorful products displayed on the screen. And its logos is represented in the product descriptions and customer reviews.

Website culture is important. Without an ethos to ethically guide its purpose, a pathos to stir the emotion of the audience, and a logos of substantive textual content, a person or organization represented on the web is sure to fail.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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