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HomeGuidelines > 3. Cook up hot links. > 3d. Provide depth and breadth through plentiful links within your site.  

 

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Background

Examples

Audience Fit

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

  • Recognize that some users have not yet found what they want. Point them to related content on your site. Example:

See Also

Kubla Khan and Manchuria

Bandits in Manchuria

Japanese Invade Manchuria (1931)

  •  If possible, offer links to supplementary but relevant material, such as examples, case studies, white papers, drafts, policies. Identify the information types. Example:

In the last fiscal year, the Nuclear Weapons Lab has pioneered:

  • The measurement of the melting curve of plutonium (report).
  • Advanced methods for processing and recovering plutonium (journal article).
  • The recovery of actinides and toxic metals from a variety of process streams through the hydride-dehydride process (draft report).
  • The development of sensors for monitoring special nuclear materials (technical brief).
  • The development of extra-hard armor-piercing shells using spent uranium (report).
    • For each audience, include at least one See Also link. Example:

    See Also

    A Manager’s Checklist

    A Technician’s Checklist

    A Designer’s Checklist

    • On a long page, put a set of links at the top, as an advance organizer, and menu.
    • Write the summary, or conclusion, then offer a link to the full argument. Example:

    Bandit gangs often numbered in the hundreds. Some took names like the People’s Army, and recruited thousands of patriotic robbers. The Japanese occupation of Manchuria made the bandits seem—in the terms of a full report by the Chinese ambassador—"patriotic guerillas."

    • If you have hundreds of links, describe the category, and link to a list of links.
    • On the home page, offer shortcuts to pages that a lot of people want to visit.
    • Within tutorials, demos, and other sequential items, identify the next content, and the previous content, so users know what they will get before they go.
    • Unfold information gradually.

    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.

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

    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

    Poster

     

     

     

    Diagram

     
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Background

    Offer examples to define concepts. But watch out for examples that raise other issues, or make too many points at once. … Get users to relate ideas to their knowledge and personal interest via scenarios. … Case studies help the user form a complete picture of the system and how it operates.
    Horton (1990)

    Use links to offer more information. ... "If you just want to read the page you’re on, fine; you’re not losing anything. But if you want to follow the links, you can. That’s the great thing about the Web."—Nielsen & Morkes (1997)

    Provide "context" links to satisfy a range of audience needs.—Levine (1997)

    On long pages, include internal links.—Apple (1999)

    You may not wish to cater specially for those who jump in out of the blue, but it is wise to leave them with enough clues so as not to be hopelessly lost. —Berners-Lee (1998)

    Having both a short summary and full detail saves writing time. It is often much easier for the writer to write a short summary of the details, and then insert the details as raw data, than to try to make a more comprehensive summary…The writer would not be forced to guess how much to cover and err on the side of providing too little information (cheating the reader) or too much (wasting the writer and reader’s time). …The combination of concise summaries and great detail is one of the ways that a web document can be much better than a paper document. —Bricklin (1998)

    The evidence is strong that breadth should be preferred over depth. —Shneiderman (1998)

    Long and detailed background information can be relegated to secondary pages; similarly, information of interest to a minority of readers can be made available through a link without penalizing those readers who don’t want it.

    But hypertext should not be used to segment a long linear story into multiple pages.—Nielsen (1999f)

    Your audience will judge the utility of a site partly on whether it has the right amount of information to suit their needs. Your site should have enough breadth to be relevant to more than a niche audience. However, if the subject matter is too broad, the goal of the site may be unclear. Links, archives, or search engines can provide a balance between providing valuable content depth/breadth and providing so much information that your site is hard to use or understand. —Microsoft (2000)

    Think of linking as the quickest means to get the user to the most relevant information. Whenever possible, state conclusions and link to supporting details; enumerate categories and link to lists; summarize and link to full-length treatments. —Sun (2000)

    Users rarely land directly at the desired page, especially when using a search engine. But they often get close. Close, but no cigar, as far as most sites are concerned, since it is rare to find links to similar or related pages. —Nielsen (2000a)

    Supplement the primary links of a Web site with secondary links—when appropriate. Key points:

    • Use shortcut links to provide quick access from the home page to important nodes located deeper in the hierarchy.
    • Use systematic secondary links to connect a group of closely related nodes.
    • Use associational links to indicate a special relationship between two nodes….Associational links are "one of a kind" links that designers build to connect related nodes. -- Farkas and Farkas (2000)

    See bibliography: Ameritech (1997), Apple (1999), Berners-Lee (1998), Bricklin (1998), Farkas and Farkas (2000), Gagne & Briggs (1979), Horton (1990), Levine (1997), Microsoft (2000), Nielsen & Morkes (1997), Nielsen (1999f, 2000a), Reigeluth et al (1980), Robinson & Knirk (1984), Shneiderman (1998), Sun (2000)

    Examples

    Example #1

    Original Paragraph:

    How do you discover the business rules that apply in your organization? By gathering requirements. You have to identify actors, objects, and use cases, then construct an abstract business model, which forms the conceptual basis for the architectural model. As Alan Pope says, "A business rule is an explanation of what the business is doing and why they are doing it. It should not have the burden of how they are doing it. The what of the business is the view of the business as seen by an immediate customer. An immediate customer may be internal or external to the organization. The why is the logic that drives that what."

    Revised Paragraphs:

    How do you discover the business rules that apply in your organization? By gathering requirements.

    You have to identify actors, objects, and use cases, then construct an abstract business model, which forms the conceptual basis for the architectural model.

    The work we have done with Ubermann shows a case study of the development of these models.

    As Alan Pope says, "A business rule is an explanation of what the business is doing and why they are doing it."

    • An example of a business rule might be, "The manufacturing team makes the paper to the customer’s specs."
    • The business rule does not have the burden of explaining how they are doing it. (The how is explained in the scenario we create, as the basis of procedures).

    Pope concludes: "The what of the business is the view of the business as seen by an immediate customer. An immediate customer may be internal or external to the organization. The why is the logic that drives that what."

    Example #2

    How it Works (A Scenario)

    We have organized our electronic library catalog around authors, titles, and subjects-just like the card catalogs of old. To find one or more books, here's what you do.

    1. You choose a category, such as author, words in a title, exact title, or subject, by clicking one of the items offered in the Category List.

    In a moment you see a new screen, asking for a little additional detail about the kind of books you are after.

    2. In the Detail screen, you type in the text that you hope will lead you to the books you are after.

    3. You click the giant red Search button.

    If you are lucky, you get a list of authors, title, or subjects that might be relevant like that in our Sample Results. If you aren't so lucky, you're told that the catalog doesn't have anything with that text as part of an author's name, title, or subject. So you have to try again.

    Example #3

    Wondering where to start?

    Here are some examples of the way you might use our genealogy information.

    • If you are interested in locating people who have been researching your family, or some branch of your family, you can find email addresses and websites in our database of Surnames.
    • Just want to check up on a specific ancestor or line, when you know where they lived? Check out Church and Parish Records, Town and City Records, County Records, State and Province Records.
    • To get dates, addresses, and incomes, visit the Census Archives.

    Example #4

    Case Study: Using our Photo Exchange

    Geraldine took some wonderful pictures on her vacation, and brought them to her local photo shop for development. They told her that if she wanted, she could have her pictures posted on the World Wide Web in our Photo Exchange, as well as having prints made on paper.

    • That way, she could send the images to her relatives along with her email.
    • Plus she could just tell people her personal address for a Web site within the Photo Exchange, and they could go there to view the entire set of pictures.
    • And she could describe the pictures for visitors by adding captions.
    • If she only wanted certain people to visit, she could also protect her site by creating a password.

    Geraldine agreed. In one week, she had her prints in hand, and the pictures were up on the Web. She emailed everyone with one picture, and the address of her site on Photo Exchange. Her family got to see the whole tour, including tourist sites, their car, and their motels. Her Mom said it was like a slide show at her own pace.

    Example #5

    Pioneering Nuclear Weapons

    In the last fiscal year, the Nuclear Weapons Lab has pioneered:

    • The measurement of the melting curve of plutonium.
    • Advanced methods for processing and recovering plutonium.
    • The recovery of actinides and toxic metals from a variety of process streams through the hydride-dehydride process.
    • The development of sensors for monitoring special nuclear materials (SNM).
    • The development of extra-hard armor-piercing shells using spent uranium.
     
     

    Audience Fit
     
    If visitors want... How well does this guideline apply?
    To have fun Links to discussions, controversy, pro and con, all add value to your opinion piece.  Add audio, animation, and video, too.
    To learn Keep your hierarchy clear, letting students focus on your main message before offering them the supplementary materials.  In general, move your links to the end of sections, so people get the full details before leaving.
    To act Embedding links allows people to backtrack, jump ahead, and carry out the task they just couldn't figure out before.
    To be aware You want people to immerse themselves in your ideas, no? But unfold gradually, with secondary links.
    To get close to people Politeness suggests that you allow people to decide whether or not to look at the secondary information.  Don't pour it on them all at once.

    Ready for some challenges?

     

     

     

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