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I. THEORY – 2. Websites

Surface structure

Giorgio Buccellati – January 2022


We are all familiar with the operation of a website, so that words and concepts like “home page” and “hyperlink” are by now second nature to everyone. Navigating a website comes as easy to everyone as leafing through a book; for many, in fact, the former has replaced the latter.

But we tend to do this uncritically, i.e., without an analytical reflection on the factors and elements that go into this operation. They result in the interface between the underlying structure and the “users.” To this we will here turn our attention here.

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The constituents are the displays visible on the screen, in the first place the page (like this one entitled “Interface”) and various lower and higher level groupings.

The signposts are the organized links that help in the navigation of a website, as in the sidebar to the left on this page.

The boundaries define the limits of the constituents and the ways in which they may be crossed through hyperlinks.

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