Saying It Well...

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"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."— Mark Twain

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Adriana Lima in Elle Magazine

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Visual Rhetorical Analysis

The website for Wells Fargo Bank (http://www.wellsfargo.com) appeals to current and potential customers-upper middle class families. It is a standard hypertext structure that makes it easy to find what one is looking for, as one can access information from many different points on the page.

The site has a lot of text, mostly about the services the bank offers, under various headings such as Banking, Loans, and Investing. There is also some drop-down menus and textual ads that have icons next to them. There is a separate section for those who already have accounts, with logos around the text, and a banner ad for the bank sits at the top of the page.

The website uses images of prosperity to create the feeling that they are a sound financial institution. The banner ad shows an upper middle class father and daughter. The daughter, probably about six, is relaxing on a white couch. She even appears to be coloring on some paper. My first thought is that the father must have a enough money to clean that couch often if he let’s his six-year-old draw on it. The father is working on finances, as implied by the text, but he seems relaxed-he’s barefoot. His clothes are “business casual” and his laptop is very shiny. There is also a photographed image that is a relatively elaborate representation of the banks usual carriage outline logo. The carriage is shiny red and yellow-it certainly has not come cross country, despite its appearance in a barren stretch of desert-and is being drawn by six horses. This once again represents prosperity, and it also alludes to the old romantic history of the West as a land of gold. It also lends some historical heft to the company. They are saying “We’ve been around forever. You can trust us.”

The web page uses visual design principles well. The topics are well organized; one can easily find what one is looking for. The organization is consistent; there are no random words or images. The images are clean, non-distracting, and minimal. However there are enough images that the site does not seem sterile or unapproachable. A frequent user of the site appreciates the division of topics. Advertisements and general information are grouped together for those who may be thinking about opening an account, while those who already have one are able to bypass the already known information to access their accounts. Someone who does not have an account yet does not immediately feel excluded from using the site.

This is very important as one may have occasion to visit this site whether they have accounts with Wells Fargo or not. One may use it to check the status of an account, open an account, or check average interest rates for such things as mortgages.

The site manages to accomplish its purpose; that is, it both informs potential users of available products and makes it easy for current customers who may visit it.

3 comments:

mudderbear said...

wow...everything I never wanted to know about Wells Fargo.. GOOD JOB!!!! Now I'll have to go and analyze what my bank has on theirs...seems like it was flowers and buzzing bees or something. What does that mean?? Oh, okay..bees represent prosperity and industry. Aren't I glad to have you around with all your useless facts?!! Mmm....very interesting......
Congratulations on pulling an "A" on this paper. Well Done!

Benjamin said...

I had to do a similar assignment in a college English class once. I compared a Bombay Company ad to an RCWilley ad. I remember thinking it was a fun assignment.

Jak said...

How funny. I was remembering that exact paper of Ben's as I read this! It was hillariously written and it made an impact on me. I think when I had this college paper, I wrote about a Cover Girl ad. It was interesting to pull it apart and nit-pick it. Even though I felt I was exaggerating or making things up as I went, it stil left you wondering just what they are trying to sell. I've been appropriately skeptical about advertising ever since.
Hm, maybe your post wasn't so much about advertising... anyhoo... I was a bit afraid to read it because of it's complicated title. Phewf! But it was well written and interesting. You're smart :)