Using hyperlinks in digital history blogging

Posted on November 18, 2008 by

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Thinking in terms of hyperlinks in digital history blogs… 

How often are they used? Should they be used more often? If they are used, do they complement the information in the post or literally “take the reader away” from the post and original line of thinking? Do we really want to distract the reader with the information in the hyperlink?

I don’t use them nearly as much now as I did when I started blogging. Nevertheless, thinking back to my comment about mouseover popups just the other day, there are times when popups just aren’t enough. In some cases, I turn to Wikipedia for supplemental information, and end up creating a hyperlink. Until recently, however, I realized that I wasn’t taking care in the way that I created hyperlinks. Ultimately, some of the hyperlinks I created were opening the linked information in the same window as my blog post, thereby swallowing-up or dominating the screen. Granted, the reader can navigate backward to the blog post, but is that really something that the author of the post would want? Instead, the hyperlinked information, at least I think in most cases, is information that one would want to supplement what is written in the blog post.

Maybe we do more justice to our blog posts by creating hyperlinks that open in a new window. When the user clicks on a hyperlink, a new window opens, but the new window is secondary in prominence within the window. The blog post retains its dominance as the primary window, but the new window is smaller and more clearly reflects our intent that the information in the new window is supplemental to the post.

Just a thought and something for the “for what it’s worth” file when it comes to blogging.

Oh, and by the way, if you plan on using the mouseover popup feature I mentioned, just remember, keep the written content of the popup to a minimum. I’ve noticed that a reader has less than 4 seconds to read popup content before the popup closes. Getting the popup to come up again isn’t so easy. A reader has to mouseover another popup, and then return to the popup that he/she was reading to get it to popup again. All-in-all, the “timed” popups can be rather annoying to a reader. Take a look at the popup I created above, in which I was writing about Wikipedia, and you will understand my concerns.

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Posted in: Digital History