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

Subject: Re: inline links (Re: Online help access question)
From: Kathleen MacDowell <kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Mark Baker <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2016 14:05:03 -0500

Research can be off the mark at times, and it's possible that what Mark is
saying about book -minded academics is true. But I think the main issue
with any research, or thought about what people are doing, or writing, is
to attempt to design the effort in terms of what people are attempting to
do. That goes for electronic media, auditory media, visual media, or paper.

So if it's convenient for people (or me) to click links and get distracted
(or not), hopefully it doesn't circumvent the purpose of their reading or
the materials (in an ideal world, that is). I should note that sometimes I
get distracted by links, but never when I'm finding the information I need
where I'm reading. In that case, I will return to the original content. It
all depends.

In that regard, I wonder how much other people work the same way.

Which really was part of the original query, wasn't it? Anyone have more
information?

Kathleen


On Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 1:41 PM, <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> wrote:

> 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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--
Kathleen MacDowell
kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com
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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
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: mbaker

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