Re: hyperlink style question

Subject: Re: hyperlink style question
From: Jim Purcell <jimpur -at- MICROSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 10:38:02 -0700

Alexia wrote:

> Per convention, our hyperlinks are in blue so they are easily-
> recognizable. However, we are still using hardcopy x-ref conventions
> also -- putting section titles in quotes and providing page numbers.
> Dilemma: The blue text, quotes, and page numbers seem like
> overkill. Our audience is used to online stuff -- should we just
> use the blue text and get rid of the quotation marks and page
> numbers? (since they can just select the link and go to that
> section) Or should I keep them in there for the one or two users
> who might print the darn thing out?
> For example...
> Instead of:
> 'To create a process' on page 16 <with section title in hyperlink blue
> text>
> Just have:
> To create a process <in hyperlink blue text>
> I prefer the second -- it's simpler and cleaner.
Me, too. What does "page 16" mean to the online reader? What, for that
matter, does it mean to the person who prints out a single topic?

One of the beauties of hypertext is that you don't have to do
conventional cross-references. ("For details, see 'Creating a
Process.'") What I like to do is not even mention the topic title
directly. If I have a topic called "Creating a Process" and I'm
describing something higher level, I'll just make jump text of whatever
seems appropriate:

To edit the contents of the server object, you
must first _create a process_ in which the server
application can run.

Something like that. The narrative flow is not interrupted by a
cross-reference, but the cross-reference is manifestly there.

BTW, jump text should be both colored and underscored so colorblind
readers can still spot it.

> My audience tends to use
> the docs online, rather than printing them out.
Well, there's your answer.

> Any good reasons for
> keeping the quotation marks and page numbers? Is the possibility that
> it might
> be printed out a good enough reason to keep 'em?
I don't see how this makes a difference. YMMV, but I think most people
print help pages as they need them; they don't use their computer to
print a book. If this is your experience, you can't make any assumptions
about page numbers. As to cross-references, they can always go back to
the screen, make the jump, and print out that topic, too, which I think
is what most people do when they want hard copy. (Anybody have any
research on this?)

Jim Purcell
mailto:jimpur -at- microsoft -dot- com
My opinions, not Microsoft's

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Re: Choosing a menu option
Next by Author: Re: hyperlink style question
Previous by Thread: Re: hyperlink style question
Next by Thread: Re: hyperlink style question

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads