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Imprudent linking weaves a tangled Web

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2 Author(s)
Lynch, P.J. ; Yale Univ., New Haven, CT, USA ; Horton, S.

Hypertext linking is often embraced uncritically by Web authors eager to explore the power of hypertext without first considering its effects on their readers' comprehension. Hypertext linking is not a substitute for thought-we think with ideas, not with dissociated snippets of raw information. Even the most germane bits of information cannot become ideas, regardless of how cleverly they are stacked, listed or linked. Ideas define relevance, provide context and establish patterns. With patterns, most concepts become intelligible, and we need continuity and stability of theme and context to recognize patterns. So, like most powerful technologies, hypertext links are a mixed blessing. Used improperly, they can be detrimental to Web sites. “Loose links” can drive away an audience, dilute the site's message, confuse the reader with irrelevant digressions and become a continuing maintenance headache for site authors and Webmasters

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 7 )