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3a. Make clear what the user will get from the link.
Example in a list item:
Background on Rembrandt
Linktext pointing to that page:
· Forms and more forms
· Forms in the world
· Forms inform you
List of links, after:
***** How to Choose a Printer
** Jets vs Lasers: How to Decide
** Lowcost Printers
** Largesize Printers
** Heavy-Duty Printers
* Inks Available by Printer
Run-on description Cognition/Knowledgeability merge
New paragraph for description:
Other ways to make links hot
Resources on writing links
Write surrounding text so as to help people understand what the link does. Help your reader understand where links lead, and what sections contain. They’re paying a time penalty for every link they follow. Help them understand what value they will receive if they traverse a link.
[Cryptic or telegraphic links] force the reader to follow the link before they’re sure the information at the other end is worth reading. If it’s not what they want, their time is wasted, and they often have to back up to continue.
Try to match the link text that someone clicks on with the title of the resulting page. It’s an impossible task to make the text displayed in a link match the title of the destination page. It also makes for maintenance headaches as the titles of documents change. Try to choose link text that has a conceptual similarity to the title and headers of the destination document.
One thing I have noticed is that more sites are taking the Yahoo! Approach, which is less is more: smaller GIFs, faster downloads, more usage of text links instead of GIF labels, which all help give the user a more positive experience. Java rollover buttons are also very nice because they allow you to be more explicit in your navigation instructions.—Tchong, in WebSite Journal.
Descriptiveness aids prediction.
When you make a reference, qualify it with a clue to allow some people to skip it. —Berners-Lee (1998)
Semantically typed nodes and links help authors organize information more effectively and lend context for readers. Link types such as ‘explanation,’ ‘further details,’ ‘contrasting argument,’ etc., convey the relationship between the link’s destination and the current node.—Bieber et al (1997)
Use a description of the information to be found in the link, or perhaps the link address. —Sun (1998)
Write links that don’t have to be followed. Providing summary information at the link site can convey enough information to save the reader from following links they would otherwise have to follow just to find out a small amount of information. Following a link is expensive—don’t waste the reader’s time. —Bricklin (1998)
Navigational labels can be augmented by brief descriptions (also known as scope notes) when initially introduced. …
Avoiding the problems associated with inconsistencies between link labels and where they lead is difficult.—Rosenfeld & Morville (1998)
In approximately one fourth of the cases, the link names suggested a wrong idea about the content of a page. —Borges et al (1998)
It is the job of the designer to advise the user and guide them to the most important or most promising choices (while ensuring their freedom to go anywhere they please. —Nielsen (1999e)
The Web is so slow that users cannot be expected
to follow all links simply to learn what they are about. The
departure page must include sufficient
The goal of the link title is to help users predict what will happen if they follow a link. Appropriate information to include in a link title can be:
Use labels that clearly indicate the function of links. …describe the destination and/or resulting action of links…..
Vision-impaired users scan for links using screen readers. For this feature to be useful, however, link labels must make sense on their own, or out of context. —IBM (1999)
Use meaningful and consistent button names to label sections and content areas. Use distinguishing adjectives to label special versions of common Internet activities (for example, Kids Chat or News Chat). —Microsoft (2000)
Be sure that all links clearly indicate their destinations. … Unfortunately, links on many sites fail to achieve this basic requirement. …
Write relatively brief links and augment them with supplementary text. … This strategy often allows for more attractive visual design than is possible with lengthy links. Furthermore, it gives users the option of skipping the supplementary text if the link gives them enough information about the destination.
Both of these strategies are instances of the information-design strategy called "layering." —Farkas and Farkas (2000)
Include a detailed description of the site. This provides users with an accurate portrait of what they will find when they visit the link, serving as a lure and invitation to learn more about the site.—America Online (2001)
Some Web browsers have recently added the ability to pop up a short explanation of a link before the users selects it. Such explanations can give users a preview of where the link will lead and improve their navigation:
See bibliography: America Online (2001), Apple (1999), Berners-Lee (1998), Bieber et al (1997), Borges et al (1998), Bricklin (1998), Farkas and Farkas (2000), IBM (1999), Levine (1997), Microsoft (2000), Nielsen (1995, 1998, 1999e, 1999f), Nielsen & Morkes (1997), Rosenfeld & Morville (1998), Spool (1997), Spyridakis (2000), Sun (1998), W3C (1999)
Writing that Works!