Monthly Archives: February 2014

Thirds Grid

Thirds grid

Upon adding each of the thirds grid to my snapshots of 30 homepages on Vietnamese websites it became very clear to me the general pattern of the sites.  Most of these sites are news sites and retail sites for appliances as a result most of the site is taken up by empty white, creating a low density trend which is apparent in the snapshot above, upon closer inspection it also became obvious that root menus and directories were also a large part of the sites, this is also expected in news sites due to the different categories news falls under and the many news stories that appear daily. The next piece of note was how much space images took up, i found that unless it is an appliance store the images do not take up a high amount of space as many of the images also use a white backdrop creating more of this white space.  Large images were rare but when they appear there is normally text over it creating pockets of high density on certain sites. Even when images are present they might fall into the navigational tabs as clicking on these pictures of items will then direct you to the page to buy said item or back to the home page, in fact when you think about it everything that you click on in a website takes you somewhere else its all a directory to sell a product or a story. While true directives appear mostly on the edges that aren’t taken up by advertisements or at the top of the website. These directories are helpful in navigating pages but without a thorough understanding of the language it is difficult to understand where each directory is taking you.

A rather large amount of space i noticed was taken up by advertisements, along the sides and at the top of the page and in the upper right hand corner were popular places for boxes of advertisements to appear. Every single page has advertisements, its how sites make money and stay up. The more a page is viewed the more advertisements on a site and the more people will see whatever is being advertised. The next piece that was obvious was who the companies were, almost all of the sites had a logo or name in the upper right hand corner, nearly without exception this was the case .Each of these logos tended to have a direct tie to the color scheme of the entire site, nearly without fail the colors used in the logo repeat itself over the text, headings navigation tabs. The consistency which with these sites are designed is extremely interesting as they can almost be said to be exactly the same based off which product your looking for be it news, appliances, games and other desirable items.  I cant tell if this is purely because of a lack of imagination or if the sites use the same templates for each site or if web design simply hasn’t taken off in Vietnam, all i see are constant patterns which can be easily picked out if one takes the time to look.


Cultural Site Presentation

For Presentation Use these 10



My three local sites were taken from both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi businesses, each of these has very vibrant colors and eye grabbing advertisements which does help with the analysis of the culture i find almost more than the businesses. Cause while Businesses have a specific theme they have in mind with a very strict color scheme advertisements are meant to grab the eye and this can only be done to a target audience if the colors are meaningful and an incentive in one form or another. In the case of vietnam the most common advertisements that i noticed were red with a yellow background or yellow with a red background this may be due to the countries flag, red with a gold star, this is a repetitive theme across all the sites i have visited. Otherwise the sites are very visual and highly dense in content, not a lot of open spaces at least not for the local businesses.


These sites are a collection of news sites, the vietnamese like other people in developing countries are hungry for news of the rest of the world. They spend a lot of time on news sites and thus there are many vietnamese online news sources. Each of these sites has one thing that ties them together, red text. A lot of white background to the sites, not many pictures and a lot of red text for the main news stories.  Again advertisements make their presence known with their red and yellow color schemes.  This red consistency really shines through in these sites.  Each of these sources lacks a lot of pictures which you normally associate with news sites, especially in todays modern world where we have amazing photographs which can grab a reader’s attention far easier than brightly colored text. However putting text into a web code is far easier than adding images with correct spacing and such, so it is not surprising that these are text dominated sites.



My international and wildcard sites are interesting to say the least as they seem to rebel against the color schemes of the rest of the country. This is due to the fact that the international corporations stick to their own color schemes and styles, the only difference is the imagery and the text. Pepsico for instance only has a link to their job application site and while the american site is dominated by a Pepsico logo this logo plays a very small role in the vietnamese site. The Burger King site is interesting however, it definitely plays towards the vietnamese style with a bright pink background, obviously not red however still playing towards their style and the couple featured is most definitely asian. Baby love also diverges from Vietnamese styling instead it looks almost distinctly western european no red text or red and yellow together in a asian style. The water park is my wildcard and is located in central Ho Chi Minh city and is a leading tourist attraction as well as a local way to escape the heat of the city. While the color scheme is clearly water park in style there is still the red and yellow text on the right hand side as a directory, saying “look here and navigate”.

Homepage Montage

By densityby color

By Color                                                                                                  By Density

Multi national

Exploring a culture relies heavily on what the people are interested in in their free time.  Several articles have lead me to the conclusion that the Vietnamese spend much of their time on the internet exploring what is happening in the world around them through news sites. This thirst for knowledge is normal for a developing country and as a result the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are full of technological stores offering all the comforts that are offered in the United States, these include plenty of stores dedicated to laptops, cell phones, televisions, cameras, and other luxury items. Among these sites, blue and white seems to be a very popular theme with normally a splash of gold somewhere on the page. Each site has a vast array of things to sell, the currency “the dog” seems to have a very low value in comparison to other currencies around the world.   These stores are everywhere in both cities and seem to make up the majority of businesses, it seems on every main road there are several technology stores or convenience stores selling modern day appliances for a lot of Dog. Prices are high because these items haven’t been in Vietnam long enough to become cheap, the same is true for Cars and most Vietnamese rely on bicycles, scooters, and small motor bikes.   Restaurants and Bakeries where the next websites I looked at, and not surprisingly these sites are covered in pictures of food with fairly easy to navigate pages to show where to order. Vietnamese style restaurants are covered in red and gold themes. This is probably due to the national flag of Vietnam, A gold star on a red background. The red is to represent the communist regime which took over Vietnam after the war with the United States.  For National Sites I chose a golf course and a bank as they are destinations for businessmen and women from around the world, the site is entirely in English but is only a little bit outside of Ho Chi Minh City, and it’s a gorgeous golf course. The bank of course has an easy translate option however has a fairly low density. Each of the sites is green and white themed with that tell-tale splash of gold which seems to be central to the Vietnamese style for websites. These gold splashes could be coming from their flag with that big gold star central to the idea it is what they are proud of, they don’t necessarily see the red of their flag, they see the single star as a symbol of their nations pride possibly as  the one country to stand against the United States and their Military.  The green of course is probably due to money for the bank and green grass for the golf course. We were also asked to look at international sites, sites which appear in different styles in different countries but are the same company. For this I chose PepsiCo, Burger King, and Baby Love as three sites which I knew would exist not only in Vietnam but also across the world. However what I was not prepared for was how different the sites were from the United States/European versions. Another observation about these sites was the amount of white that is present, in many of the sites shown above there is alot of empty spaces filled in with white, this is to be expected in a country whose websites are full of text as white is a good backdrop for text and doesn’t require any additional code as it is the default color.  High density pages are almost exclusive to sites with specific themes such as the golf, water park, bakery, and jewelry sites in the above snapshots these schemes are a way of promoting beauty and style instead of a bland white, its almost like an advertisement in and of itself saying “oh look at me, i have a color scheme, i’m fancy!” and it is a rarity in  Vietnam. Only a few sites have the money to afford the custom pages with a full color scheme instead many just go with the default white and empty boxes to fill in with pictures and text in different colors.

Picture This

As my last post showed I spent a portion of my winter break in the Central American country of Belize,  this will probably be the last time I discuss this as I intend to go over every day that I spent there to try and describe Belize as much as possible before resorting to pictures.  The first thing that I noticed about Belize was the sun, I’ve been to tropical places before mainly Florida where the weather is warm sunny and humid every day, Belize however wasn’t nearly as humid as Florida, it wasn’t dry either it had an almost temperate atmosphere and the sun was an ever present reminder of how Belize is on the equator. The sun burns you extremely quickly if you aren’t careful and I began to tan almost instantly. Upon leaving Belize City for Dangriga the poverty of the area becomes evident. Roads are in horrible disrepair and most of the buildings built in the style of the 50’s and 60’s of America are in ruins. Many of the buildings have smashed windows and for sale signs.  The damage is apparently from a category one hurricane Richard in the 70’s which they have never recovered from. Otherwise we passed mile after mile of rainforest, the trees covered every inch of wilderness obscuring any wildlife from view.  We also passed many farms, whose sole purpose seemed to be growing Oranges there were so many farms that it soon became apparent we would never lack for orange juice on this trip. The people were the next observation the group made, every person we passed along the way waved, either to get attention and help or out of genuine friendliness it was hard to tell however most people yelled “Hello” and had large smiles on their faces, its great to see. Once arriving at the resort the tropical atmosphere came to the forefront with the palm trees, the white sand beach, and the clear blue water with hundreds of tiny fish hiding under the dock. Pelicans flew over the water and dove down to catch whatever they could see. Next we spent a few days on an island, soft white sand and crystal clear water with palm trees and coconuts everywhere. Several hammocks and lawn chairs on the beach look out over a lagoon, shielded by a barrier reef which extends for miles the waves crash against the reef and allow the water in the lagoon to be calm and perfect for snorkeling. We also spent several days 10 miles into the rainforest at another resort where the trees and grass grew wild, wildlife surrounded us especially the spiders which we had several encounters with including a rather freaky looking cave spider. Birds were the highlight of this resort as many different exotic birds took advantage of the excess papaya which we left out for them, the highlight of these were the arcon toucans a smaller toucan with a bill which looks serrated due to its coloring. The bugs were a bit of a problem here however we all brought bug spray allowing us to survive. Shade in Belize is a blessing, and under the shade of the trees in the forest is where I was most comfortable. Now to try to describe Belize in photos, this ought to be interesting.

The-Great-Blue-Hole IMAG0255 IMAG0259 IMAG0253 IMAG0247 rainforrestimg69424e5c0f4062485

Snapshot#1 p.55


The Caption for this photo would have to be “Belizean Sunset a good drink and a beautiful view”. Captions can say a lot about a photo. However what I find captions also convey the context and a small amount of the photographers character.  This caption highlights the beauty of a natural landscape, in this case a sunset on Southwater Caye in Belize. I took a trip to Belize with my class Tropical Ecology we spent several days on Southwater Caye but this was the first night that we stayed on the island and it was gorgeous. That same afternoon we took a walk around the island which is less than a mile long and visited the three bars to see what we had to look forward to. In particular it was interesting to see the prices on drinks. One drink that caught every person’s eye around this time was the Belizean sunset, a mix of rum and coconut rum which turns layered brown orange and red on top of another. In fact this picture was taken at the doc of one of the bars as several of the girls drank Belizean sunsets, I tried one it was extremely sweet but still delicious and for the price of seven dollars Belizean it was practically a bargain. American currency is worth one dollar and ninety cents for every one dollar Belizean. This was taken full advantage of as the students sampled every mixed drink on the island including Belizean sunsets, Beach Coolers, Panty Rippers( a one-time try for all) and of course the local beer Beliken. I don’t think any of my other pictures from Belize reflect how amazing the environment is down there. No caption or blog could possibly be enough to encompass how truly beautiful that country is, everywhere you go you are reminded that you are in tropical paradise. There is something about a sunset though that truly solidifies a moment in time. Sunsets and rises may govern our days but when you’re in paradise, the sunset is there one second and its gone the next, the temperature difference is astonishing suddenly a whole new atmosphere becomes apparent. But at the same time a little sadness creeps into your body as you realize you may have to wait for days before the next gorgeous sunset happens. This was the most beautiful night of my life so far and its going to take something truly spectacular to come close. It was the perfect sunset, I don’t expect to see the like any time soon. This photo alone cannot describe itself besides a beautiful sunset, however with a caption it provides the location, Belize, a tropical paradise in central America renown for the beautiful waters the expansive reefs and of course the iconic “Blue Hole” anyone else might look at this photo and have a different caption in mind like “ocean sunset”  or  “#sunset” but I believe that the location a photo is taken is central to its identity and as Belize was one of the best experiences of my life I feel  it is necessary to add the location to the caption where others would not.