[thelist] Useability/design Opinion's sought

e-head ebone+thelist at dotsandloops.net
Tue Mar 22 18:22:15 CST 2005

On 03/21/05 18:02 or thereabouts, Chris Heilmann scribbled:
> really easy. I think the best article about links I read so far is Jukka's
> "Links want to be links": http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www/links.html

I started reading over this article, and before getting through the
first page, something occured to me. This guys links are aweful, simply
god aweful. And his page looks terrible.

In particular, the top menu structure of links is bordering on
unreadable, due to the overwhelming effect all that bright underlined
blue text creates. Also, studies have shown that columnar text is easier
to read than text which spans the entire monitor screen. Most people
simply leave their browser open full screen, and it is difficult for the
eye to follow the long path back to the next line and find it properly.

But if your text is contained within a nice column, like alistaparts,
the eye doesn't have so far to go.

Also, I think one should give the reader the benefit of the doubt. For
example, in a menu/listing type structure, it is usually obvious that
these are links, and hence a more subtle (and readable) color/font might
be preferred.

All of this is very interesting. There is a definite fine line between
"design" issues and "useability" issues. Is it our duty as web designers
to try and "show the way", and create sites that are more
asthetic/ergonomic/easy on the eyes ?

The original designers of the web were not usability experts. When they
decided on "underlined blue" as representing a link, they consulted no
cognitive research studies.

Having gone on for far too long ... I do agree with the "essence" of
what that article says.

> The problem with textlinks is that they do represent a break in the
> context though. A link indicates I can click and go further, and that
> stops me from following the sentence, if only for some milliseconds. Most
> of the time, a link inside an article is there to give more information or
> back up an argument by linking to another source also talking in favour of
> it. I started to favour an email-like style "as Bob the Sheepfarmer
> says[1]" and have a list of links at the end of the article instead:
> [1] Bob the Sheep farmer talks about the crisis in the middle east:
> http://www.baabaa.com/bob/
> This also makes the links be usable when you print the page.

I think this is a really good idea. I like it.

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