Hypertext Critique 1

English 343: 001 / NCLC 343:001
Textual Media

Hypertext Critique


For this assignment, you will choose one of the assigned hypertexts and write a hypertext analysis of approximately 1000 words, using at least five screens. Choose one aspect of the hypertext (or a tight constellation of related issues) for the analysis.

To begin an analysis of a hypertext, you may need to slow down your interactions. Make notes of what you see, what you chose, and why.

  1. Take a sheet of paper, or a use a blank text or html document.
  2. Jot down what you see on the first screen. What are your expectations?
  3. What links do you notice? What did you click on? Why?
  4. Where did that link lead? What is on this new screen?
  5. Repeat until you are “finished”

Once “finished,” reflect on the experience. What did this hypertext do? How did you interact with it. Look for a theme or topic you can develop.

  • Analyze the paths through the hypertext. What choices did you make? What were your expectations? Were they met, unmet, surpassed?
  • Analyze the interface. How are you invited to participate? What options present themselves to you?
  • Examine the relationships between text and image.
  • Identify and interpret a theme in the hypertext.
  • Discuss the use of language in the hypertext.
  • Discuss the choices you think the author made in constructing the hypertext.
  • Analyze your own experience of interacting with the hypertext.

This is an English course, so the analysis must have a thesis and provide support. Hypertext organization is looser than a printed text, but the analysis must have some organizational structure. Authors of print texts don’t have much control over page breaks, which occur whenever a predetermined place is reached. Screens, however, are always created purposefully. HTML editors will never automatically create a “screen break.” So you need to pay as much attention to your screens as you do to your paragraphs.

Grades will be based on the quality of the writing, strength of the thesis, support, organization, and use of the technology.

Some tips

  • You can’t highlight an online hypertext. You’ll need to take notes and keep track of individual text blocks and screens.
  • You can cut and paste, but don’t overdo this. It is easy to paste text into a new document; analysis requires commentary. Also, be sure you cite any direct quotes.
  • Look for ideas and techniques you may want use in your own work: “View Source” is a great tool.

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