A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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Avoid Within-Page Links

On the Web, users have a clear mental model for a hypertext link: it should bring up a new page. Within-page links violate this model and thus cause confusion.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2006). Design>Web Design>Hypertext


BlockShopper v. Jones Day: The Right of Web Sites to Link

Cases that have addressed links and copyright dealt with the permissibility of "deep linking"—linking to a page other than the home page—which, of course, is indeed permitted. Ticketmaster famously lost a lawsuit against Tickets.com about just this. But that case was about copyright infringement; by making a trademark claim instead, Jones Day opened up another legal avenue.

Davis, Wendy. Slate (2009). Articles>Web Design>Legal>Hypertext


Building Hypermedia Information Systems That Work   (PDF)

The trend to online delivery of information means new challenges for developers. New skills must be learned. Developing a hypermedia information delivery system. Five steps are critical to the conversion process: (I) Determine spectjic system requirements. (2) Create a pzoject team with clearly assigned roles. (3) Develop an implementation plan. (4) Implement the Plan. (5) Update and maintain the system.

Williams, Travis W. and Stacey D. Hatley. STC Proceedings (1997). Design>Web Design>Hypertext


Common Ways Links Fail Users

I’ve thought of a few ways that links can fail users. By preventing these sorts of things (which admittedly, aren’t all that easy to prevent) we can design better links with the hopes of attaining that place where users never get lost.

Porter, Joshua. Bokardo (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Hypertext


Company Name First in Microcontent? Sometimes!

Typically, you should deemphasize your company's name in links, but a new guideline recommends frontloading the name for search engine links under certain conditions.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Hypertext


Deep Linking: An Ethical and Legal Analysis   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Deep linking, the practice of linking to a subsidiary page rather than the home page of another organization’s website, is the subject of considerable controversy. In several recent lawsuits, plaintiffs have alleged violations of copyright, trademark, and commercial laws. In this article, I review the legal and ethical issues regarding deep linking and comment on how the ethical conflict between rights and utility motivates the controversy. I conclude that protecting site owners’ rights to control deep linking to their sites is a stronger value than enhancing the utility of the Web for users by allowing completely unrestricted deep linking. Finally, I recommend a collection of resources for Web developers interested in staying current with the evolving controversy.

Markel, Mike. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication (2002). Design>Web Design>Hypertext


The Effect of Informative, Intriguing, and Generic Hyperlink Wording on Web Browsing Behavior   (PDF)

This paper presents a study of the effect of informative, intriguing, and generic hyperlink wording on Web browsing behavior. The study was administered via the Web using a modified naturally occurring informational Web site. Link wording was varied in both the navigation menu and links embedded in the text. Data about participants' browsing behavior were logged with PHP scripts, and demographics, perceptions, and comprehension were measured through a post-browsing survey. Data from the study are being analyzed and will be presented at the conference.

Evans, Mary B., Carolyn Wei, Matt Eliot, Jen Barrick, Brandon Maust, and Jan H. Spyridakis. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Web Design>Diction>Hypertext


Escritura Hipertextual

La escritura hipertextual, que tiene como unidad básica el enlace y como soporte lógico el electrónico, se debe realizar de forma diferente a la escritura convencional. A los usuarios no les gusta leer en pantalla, por lo que agradecerán cuanto más les facilitemos dicha tarea. En este artículo se tratará la correcta presentación de contenidos y elementos de interacción (enlaces) en los documentos hipertextuales.

Hassan Montero, Yusef and Francisco Jesus Martin Fernandez. Nosolousabilidad.com (2003). (Spanish) Articles>Writing>Hypertext>Web Design


Fourth-Generation Hypermedia: Some Missing Links for the World-Wide Web

World Wide Web authors must cope in a hypermedia environment analogous to second-generation computing languages, building and managing most hypermedia links using simple anchors and single-step navigation. Following this analogy, sophisticated application environments on the World Wide Web will require third- and fourth-generation hypermedia features. Implementing third- and fourth-generation hypermedia involves designing both high- level hypermedia features and the high-level authoring environments system developers build for authors to specify them. We present a set of high-level hypermedia features including typed nodes and links, link attributes, structure-based query, transclusions, warm and hot links, private and public links, hypermedia access permissions, computed personalized links, external link databases, link update mechanisms, overviews, trails, guided tours, backtracking, and history-based navigation. We ground our discussion in the hypermedia research literature, and illustrate each feature both from existing implementations and a running scenario. We also give some direction for implementing these on the World Wide Web and in other information systems.

Open University, The (1997). Articles>Information Design>Hypertext>Web Design


Guidelines for Designing Web Navigation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

As Web sites grow larger and more complex, the challenge of designing effective user navigation increases. We offer designers (as well as those evaluating existing Web sites) a set of 12 guidelines encompassing that attempt to cover the most important and broadly relevant navigation issues. These guidelines are grouped under four topics: (1) Designing an effective link, (2) Managing large numbers of links, (3) Providing orientation information, and (4) Augmenting link-to-link navigation. With each guideline there is an example and a synthesis of the most relevant and compelling research, theory, and expert opinion. These guidelines apply to what can be broadly termed informational Web sites rather than sites for game-players, art sites, and sites intended for whimsy and fun.

Farkas, David K. and Jean B. Farkas. Technical Communication Online (2000). Design>Web Design>Hypertext


Helpful Hyperlinks with JavaScript

There you are happily surfing a web site; you click a link and suddenly find yourself at another site being asked to download a file. What happened there? Annoying, isn’t it? There has to be a better way to indicate to your visitors where a link is going and to what type of file. So, to help solve this little annoyance, I’ve written a bit of JavaScript and CSS that adds pretty little icons after the links—depending on the file extension and location—to indicate to the user the type of document they’re about to load.

Somerville, Toby. SitePoint (2008). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext>JavaScript


How Many Links Are Too Many Links?

To understand how much content effluvia we're subjected to, I wanted to see how many links are on the homepage of popular websites. For example, if I go to the homepage of the Huffington Post, I see 720 links, in one shot. Then click inside to a story and you've nearly doubled that number—it ads up pretty quickly. What about the tech blogs? BoingBoing Gadgets, 514. Gizmodo, 468. Engadget 432, all on one page. And on average, fewer than 1% of the links on news sites and blogs actually point to rich content, 99% are navigation and other article headlines. Aggregation site Techmeme has a whopping 1081 links.

Bilton, Nick. O'Reilly and Associates (2009). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>Hypertext


How to Get Links Without Asking

Sending out link requests is a time-consuming business. So wouldn't it be wonderful if other sites linked to you without being asked? Sound impossible? Well, it can be done and here are ten strategies to prove it. Why not start 2006 by making sure you use them?

McGaffin, Ken. Website Tips (2006). Design>Web Design>Hypertext>Search Engine Optimization


Hypermedia as Integration: Recollections, Reflections and Exhortations

Hypermedia and its earlier form, hypertext, refer to the notion of information structured as linked networks, as well as to the building, storing, navigating, and searching of such structures. The talk starts with the observation that integration has always been a goal of hypermedia developers. At first, this took the form of large monolithic link-enhanced environments that included support for text editing, electronic mail, CSCW, software engineering, and project management among other applications. Later, the 'open systems' movement arrived and the meaning of hypermedia integration shifted to connecting existing applications. With the emergence of the World-Wide Web, the world's first broad-based hypermedia system, the dream of integration now extends across sites, networks, media formats, and hardware platforms. Using a current example (extending the Netscape browser to support email management), I argue that this history is not as linear as it seems, in fact the old monolithic agendas seem still to be with us.

Trigg, Randall H. Xerox (1996). Design>Web Design>Hypertext


Hypertext Maps

Hypertext mapping has long challenged writers, and perplexed hypertext system designers. Clear, attractive, and informative maps help readers and writers understand the structure of complex hypertexts. Conversely, in the absence of adequate mapping tools, many writers fall back on simplistic link models like sequential lists and outlines.

Bernstein, Mark. Eastgate Systems (2003). Design>Web Design>Hypertext>Sitemaps


Ideas for Subtle Hover Effects

It’s time for some fresh hover effect inspiration! Nowadays we are seeing a lot of delicate designs with fine lines, lots of white space, clean typography and subtle effects. With that beautiful trend in mind we want to share some creative ideas for grid item hover effects. It’s all about being subtle with that little delightful surprise. The techniques we are using for these hover effects involve 3D transforms and some pseudo-element transitions. Note that these will only work in modern browsers.

Lou, Mary. Codrops (2014). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design>Hypertext


Image Links vs. Text Links

Years back, we compared successful clickstreams (clickstreams that resulted in users accomplishing their goals, as observed in tons of usability tests) with unsuccessful clickstreams (clickstreams where users abandoned their goals before completing), looking for any clues that would help us predict behaviors in one that we didn’t see in the other. One factor we looked for was whether the clickstreams contained image links versus text links — does one type of link show up more often in successful clickstreams than the other. Our finding was when users clicked in image links they were just as likely to succeed or fail as when the clicked on text links. There was no statistically-meaningful difference.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2006). Articles>Web Design>User Interface>Hypertext


Inappropriate Format][ing][: Craft-Orientation vs. Networked Content[s]   (peer-reviewed)

From the point-of-view of this net.art practitioner-plus-reviewer, it seems evident that various web/net/code artists are more likely to be accepted into an academic reification circuit/traditional art market if they produce works that reflect a traditional craft-worker positioning. This 'craft' orientation [producing skilled/practically inclined output, rather than placing adequate emphasis on the conceptual or ephemeral aspects of a networked, or code/software-based, medium] is embraced and replicated by artists who create finished, marketable, tangible objects; read: work that slots nicely into a capitalistic framework where products/objects are commodified and hence equated with substantiated worth.

Breeze, Mez. Journal of Digital Information (2003). Design>Web Design>Hypertext


Intent as a Factor in Designing the Hypermediated Narrative   (PDF)

The potential for combining images, graphics, video, and sound with traditional text in an interactive environment allowed narrative to move into new areas of expression.

Madej, Krystina. University of Alberta (2003). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext


The Lack of Interactivity and Hypertextuality in Online Media   (peer-reviewed)

The main focus of this article is related to the forms of mediated content that are offered in online space. Two specific aspects of new cyber-textuality are discussed--the notion of hypertextuality and the potential of interactivity. Both characteristics are understood as new challenges that reflect specific communication potentials of the internet. In an empirical sense, the article tries to show the extent these significant forms of mediation are used in online media news. For this reason a comparison between media content in print and online media has been made. The findings reveal the lack of interactivity in practice and explore its diversity as a communication form between media producers and reader. Regarding the hypertextuality, the analysis shows the complexity of this concept, which in the realm of news media online is still maturing.

Oblak, Tanja. International Communication Gazette (2005). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext>Interaction Design


Let Links Be Links

The notion of the web as an application platform has never been more popular. Single-page frameworks like Ember and Angular make it easy to create complex applications that offer richer, more robust experiences than traditional websites can. But this benefit comes at a cost. Ross Penman tells us what we can do about it.

Penman, Ross. List Apart, A (2015). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext


Lifestyles of the Link-Rich Home Pages

Contrast the Dove home page to the Dove site map. Using 5 times as many links, this page gives a real picture of the content of the site. Even with 148 links, it is well designed and organized nicely. It's easy for users to find what is available quickly.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2006). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext


Link Location That Works

Where to put links on a web page? That's a standard dilemma for content writers. Best to establish a policy and make sure all writers on your site follow it. That has an added advantage of standardising the 'look' of your pages.

McAlpine, Rachel. Quality Web Content (2004). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext>Writing


Linking to Pages or Destinations Within PDFs

Information about how to link to pages or specific bookmarks within a PDF document.

Shea, Dan. PlanetPDF (2004). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext>Adobe Acrobat



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