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JCMC Home     Submit     Issues     Author Index     Editors     About JCMC     Würtz, E. (2005). A cross-cultural analysis of websites from high-context cultures and low-context cultures. Journal of  Computer-Mediated Communication, 11 (1), article 13.http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue1/wuertz.html A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Websites from High-Context Cultures and Low- Context Cultures Elizabeth Würtz Department of Design, Communication and Media IT University Copenhagen                            Abstract The aim of this study is to explore and identify the strategies used by High-Context cultures in utilizing the Internet—a largely Low-Context  medium—for communication and marketing purposes. It is hypothesized that individuals in High-Context cultures are more likely to adopt the  visual effects offered by the Internet to convey their messages efficiently than their Low-Context counterparts. How might High-Context cultures  make the most of the potentials offered by the Internet generation of today? Assuming that visual communication is a high priority in the design  of High-Context websites, how do the visual methods used on websites vary according to the communication styles in different cultures? Using  Hall's High- and Low-Context dimensions as the main parameters, an exploratory analysis of McDonald's websites identified five different  strategies by which visual communication is used to support High-Context communication traits. Introduction A popular cultural framework was proposed by Edward Hall (1976, 2000), in which he stated that all cultures can be situated in  relation to one another through the styles in which they communicate. In some cultures, such as those of Scandinavians,  Germans, and the Swiss, communication occurs predominantly through explicit statements in text and speech, and they are 
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thus categorized as Low-Context cultures. In other cultures, such as the Japanese and Chinese, messages include other  communicative cues such as body language and the use of silence. Essentially, High-Context communication involves implying  a message through that which is not uttered. This includes the situation, behavior, and para-verbal cues as integral parts of the  communicated message.  These differences in communication styles across cultures are expected to pose challenges to the ways in which websites  communicate their messages most optimally. How do websites created for a target group in a High-Context culture differ from  those created for Low-Context culture audiences? What strategies do High-Context cultures use to compensate for lack of  context on websites that were created in cultures where the norm is to communicate in a manner that is high in content and low 
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JCMC Home - CMCHome J Submit Issues AuthorIndex Editors AboutJCMC Wrtz,E(2005. Journalof

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