RE: naming methods in manuals

Subject: RE: naming methods in manuals
From: "Dick Margulis" <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 09:10:10 -0500

Jim Shaeffer wrote:

>If documentation is on-line, any Short name can be hyper-linked to the Long
>name. Actually, all instances of the name (short or long) can be
>hyper-linked to the same glossary reference that explains all.

While it is true that every instance of a word CAN be linked to a gloss, you should carefully consider whether this is a good idea from a readability perspective. Blue measles will distract the reader from the information content of what you are trying to convey. At most, I would include one hyperlink per page for a given term, such as the product name, that is likely to be used more than once per page. An alternative is to include an unobtrusive footer or sidebar on every page that includes links to all the glossed terms on that page.

Another way to approach this is to include a link (or even hover text) on every instance but to use plain text for it (text-decoration:none) so that it only becomes noticeable if someone mouses over it. This is probably a violation of all sorts of principle of user interface design, so it would not be my first choice; but it is better than underlined blue hypertext every fourth word.

My $0.02



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