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HomeGuidelines > 3. Cook up hot links. > 3c. Shift focus from the links or the linked-to documents to the subject.  




Audience Fit


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3c. Shift focus from the links or the linked-to documents to the subject.

  • Write as if you were not using links. Say something interesting, and, almost incidentally, include some hot text.


We have discovered a wonderful link to some horrible material about the Japanese occupation of Korea, which led to a strict suppression of free speech, according to the author of this site, a Willard Price. He says that the Japanese burned Korean books, banned, the Korean language in schools, arrested people without warrants, put people in prison without trial, and committed outright massacres in 1919 and 1942.


The Japanese occupation of Korea led to strict suppression of free speech, according to Willard Price—burning Korean books, banning of the Korean language in schools, arrest without warrant, prison without trial, and, in 1919 and 1942, outright massacres.

  • Do not point out that the link is a link. Let the formatting reveal its clickability.

Other ways to make links hot

3a. Make clear what the user will get from the link.

3b. Within a sentence, make the link the emphatic element.

3d. Provide depth and breadth through plentiful links to related information within your site.

3e. Establish credibility by offering outbound links.

3f. Make meta information public.

3g. Write URLs that humans can read.

3h. Make links accessible.

3i. Tell people about a media object before they download.

3j. Announce the new with special links.

3k. Write meta-tags to have your pages found.

Resources on writing links

Taking a Position on Links

Heuristic Online Text (HOT) Evaluation for Links











Write about your subject as if there were no links in the text.
Levine (1997)

Use links, don’t talk about them.—Berners-Lee (1995

The word _here_ is the link. This style is really awkward: when you click on "here," you have to look around to make sure it is the "right" here. Let me urge you, when you construct your HTML page, to make sure that the-thing-you-click is actually some kind of title for what it is when you click here. —Berners-Lee (1998)

See bibliography: Arthur (2000), Berners-Lee (1995), Levine (1997), Nielsen (1997b).


Audience Fit
If visitors want... How well does this guideline apply?
To have fun Unless you are indulging in self-referential post-modern whining (always amusing), follow this guideline and let the links take care of themselves.
To learn Students understand how links work.  No need to distract them from your ideas by waving your hands around, pointing out the mechanism behind the screen.
To act Keep your focus on the action the user wants to perform.  Make the whole mess of internet protocols invisible.
To be aware Unless you are dealing with absolute newbies, who find the Internet and computer an exciting new world, follow the guideline.
To get close to people It's acceptable to boast about discovering a site you want your community to check out, and you may even admire your own links, without upsetting other people too badly.  On the other hand, you could be polite and say something intelligent about the topic.

Ready for some challenges?




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