Re: hyperlink style question

Subject: Re: hyperlink style question
From: Scott Miller <scott_miller -at- CCMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 11:57:51 -0800

SNIP
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?
END SNIP

Take out the page references. The online media is much more fragile and
unforgiving than print; stuff like useless page numbers just clogs the pipes and
gets in the way. Hardly any users ever print out an entire online document.
They occasionally print single topics, for which a page-number cross-ref is
useless.

Also: In-sentence hard jumps (jumps that close a topic and open another) should
be avoided. (In-sentence pop-up window jumps as in WinHelp are fine, if they
aren't over-used.) It takes more words to say "See Creating a process," but it
makes it very clear what the jump is to. If you say "you must first _create a
process_ in which the server application can run..." the user is not certain
what the jump is to. An overview topic? A procedure topic? A glossary
definition? If you say "See Creating a process," it's clear that this is
probably a procedure topic about creating a process.

Every time you provide a hard jump, you should conclude that the user will get
lost in hyperspace. You want to make sure that the user knows if he or she
needs to make the jump. A jump to a vague target is likely to get used by
people who don't really need to make that jump. Spelling out the topic title
lets them know exactly what they're jumping to, and they can better determine if
they want to make the jump.

Scott Miller
Lotus cc:Mail
Scott_Miller -at- ccmail -dot- com

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