Introduction

An infographic timeline showing the history of websitesThe internet has come a long way since it was first developed in the early 1960s

Websites perform a vital function for many media industries but they are also media texts in their own right.

As such, they have their own specific codes and conventions which include:

TypeDescription
Navigational featuresThese are clearly displayed on a web page and are essential in guiding the user through the content contained on a site. When web designers are building a website, the navigational features are among the most important to get right.
Web bannerThis is the title or header image of a web page and it works in the same way as a newspaper masthead or magazine title. It aims to attract an audience and indicates the type of content available. It does this through choice of image and selection of font.
Flash elementsThese design options allow web designers to incorporate animations and interactive content into a website. A flash plug-in is required to view these features on a web browser. Many websites are moving away from Flash and using platform neutral technologies such as HTML5 instead. Some web browsers. such as Chrome, have announced they are withdrawing from supporting Flash.
AdvertisementsThough not all websites carry advertisements, many do as it helps generate revenue from site visits.
Multimedia featuresThis is the use of images, video, text and audio on a website to present information in an engaging and effective way. These features can help make the content more entertaining and informative.
Web linksWhen links direct a user to another page on the same website they are 'internal links' and when they direct a user to the pages of another website they are 'external links'.
Interactive elements These allow the user to contribute to the website by taking part in forums, surveys, games, quizzes, or by commenting on an article. In turn, the audience may be inspired to produce blogs and vlogs using platforms like YouTube, Tumblr or WordPress, which encourage interactivity from site visitors.