Repetition in hypertext

Subject: Repetition in hypertext
From: Ram Bone <jendicot -at- NYX10 -dot- CS -dot- DU -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 1994 08:42:06 -0600

Hi all...

I am developing hypertext reference information (in Windows Help) for
about 100 securities products. These products fall into about 10
categories, and there's a lot of overlap in the information users need to
know about each product. In some cases, only one or two sentences on a
card are different from the information on other cards in a category.
In other words, a user who has read the information for one product has
probably read 90 percent of the information on other cards.

I'd like to somehow signal the "unique" information on each card, so users
who have already read 90 percent of the info can find the remaining 10%
without a lot of hunting. Any ideas on how I can highlight this

One idea is to use color to indicate the different information. The main
drawback of that approach is that the user could overdose on color, or
confuse the new info with the green glossary items. In spite of these
cons, color may be the way to go. If so, what color would look best?

A second idea is to use an icon to signal new info. The problem with this
approach is it could throw off the page design or add to the overall
cost/scope of the project.

Finally, I could just use italics (I'm already using bold for another
purpose). The problem with italics is they're harder to read/edit, and
they may not make the info easy enough to find to be worth the effort.

Has anyone encountered this problem (aka "opportunity") before? If so, I'd
appreciate hearing your experiences, suggestions, and what's worked and
not worked.

Thanx in advance,

John Endicott
jendicot -at- nyx -dot- cs -dot- du -dot- edu

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