Web sites are rapidly becoming the preferred media choice for information search, company presentation, shopping, entertainment, education, and social contacts. And along with the various forms of communication that the Web offers the aesthetic aspects have begun to play an increasing important role. However, studies in the design and the relevance of focusing on the aesthetic aspects in planning and using Web sites have only to a smaller degree been subject of theoretical reflection. For example, Miller in 2001, Thorlacius in 2001, 2002, 2005, Engholm in 2002, 2003 and Beaird in 2007 have been contributing to set a beginning agenda that address the aesthetic aspects. On the other hand, there is a considerable amount of literature addressing the theoretical and methodological aspects focusing on the technical and functional aspects. In this context it is the aim of this article to introduce a model for analysis of the visual communication in Web design figure 2. This new model is based on Roman Jakobson's communication model, which focuses on the linguistic aspects of the communication. Jakobson’s model has been expanded and adapted so that it is applicable to visual communication in terms of the pictorial and graphical aspects of Web design by drawing on insights from semiotics, art history, communication theory, and graphic design. The practical use of the model will be demonstrated on two Web sites: Jakob Nielsen and Donald A. Norman's Web site www.nngroup.com and Walter Van Beirendonck's Web site www.waltervanbeirendonck.com.
International Handbook of Internet Research, 2010, p. 455-476