Excerpt from Essay :
Audience in Communication
Not all websites are written for a general audience
. Some websites include technical information geared for professionals in their field. There are also a number of websites that aim to please both types of audiences: those who understand rich technical or scientific jargon and those who do not. This memorandum compares and contrasts two health information websites: WebMD and Drugs.com to illustrate the importance of audience when composing and presenting health-related information online.
The WebMD website is written for a general audience with limited understanding of science
or low science literacy. To a degree, Drugs.com is also geared for a general audience, but the difference between these sites is that Drugs.com also has a section for professionals that can be used to make educated and evidence-based decisions about pharmacological treatments. There is, for example, a "Pro Edition" section of Drugs.com as well as detailed information about each drug listed in the online database. Therefore, Drugs.com provides a comprehensive set of information for a wide range of audiences including both people
who have a high degree of science literacy in pharmacology
and those who do not.
Neither website actually aims to persuade. Both are designed to inform the
Both websites persuade the public to consult with doctors before making any decisions based on what they read on the internet.
Technical Language and Jargon
WebMD aims to avoid jargon almost to the point of pandering to an undereducated American audience, oversimplifying many issues. Drugs.com has several layers to its discourse, avoiding jargon on the general audience introduction pages to each drug but then using the necessary technical language when offering the scientific evidence and supported research for the professional viewer. The multilayered effect is helpful for this website.
Style and Structure
Neither WebMD nor Drugs.com use long sentences because there are not many actual in-depth articles on these sites. Instead, the information presented is organized and pithy. Sentence length generally has nothing to do with the sophistication of the information. In terms of style, WebMD is far more informal than Drugs.com, but both use the second person familiar when speaking to general audiences about diseases and drugs
Presence of Advertising
WebMD does have some advertisements in the form of links to external…