RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question)

Subject: RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question)
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'Janoff, Steven'" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2016 14:41:16 -0400

Yup. A number of those are cited in the book.

But I would also point out that a lot of the research that has been done is
itself affected by document-thinking, which is what leads to the kinds of
statistics we were discussing earlier, such as the one about readers who
follow links not coming back to page they were on. It is only document-think
bias that makes any think that that is a significant statistic.

There are a great many studies which attempt to assess the impact of links
by testing comprehension of a single page. But this is clearly
document-biased. It assumes that the point of reading a document is to
comprehend the document. That is a classic idea in western education, but it
is silly in both technical communication terms and hypertext terms. The
point if for the reader to satisfy their own information need, which may be
quite specific and individual and may not require reading the whole of any
document, let alone being able to ask comprehension questions about it.

I also cite, and point out the biases in, several studies in this article:
http://thecontentwrangler.com/2012/05/03/re-thinking-in-line-linking-dita-de
votees-take-note/

But there are times when you have to look past the academic studies and look
at the biggest Petri dishes of them all, the Web and the marketplace.
Academia seldom leads in these areas. It often takes it a long time to catch
up and figure out why the stuff that is working is working. Academic careers
and academic thinking are still very heavily book based, and this naturally
affects how academics think about communication issues and how they test
idea in communication. Open notebook science is starting to teach the
academy to think in hypertext terms, but there is still a long way to go for
the academy generally to catch up with the rest of the world.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: Janoff, Steven [mailto:Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 2:25 PM
To: mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question)

Thanks, Mark.

Actually I meant scholarly papers and research studies observing and
documenting user behavior in this area.

Example: There's a great deal of research on effectiveness of screen
captures in documentation (especially software doc), per van der Meij,
Gellevij, etc.

Looking for something comparable in the area of inline links in hypertext
(especially post-2000).

I don't recall seeing those references in the EPPO book but it's been some
time.

Thanks,

Steve


On Tuesday, October 04, 2016 11:14 AM, Mark Baker wrote:

Steve,

Lots of research in my book:
https://www.amazon.com/Every-Page-One-Topic-Based-Communication/dp/193743428
1

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: Janoff, Steven [mailto:Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 1:58 PM
To: mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question)

I haven't had a chance to follow this interesting discussion, but is there
any research on this?

It also seems to be something from the UX field so I would think they've
explored this at least a little.

I'd be interested in seeing any citations of good research.

Thanks,

Steve


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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Chris Despopoulos
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: mbaker
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Janoff, Steven
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: mbaker
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Janoff, Steven

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