Atracting attention to a link

Discussion in 'HTML' started by David Segall, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. David Segall

    David Segall Guest

    I recently had a 100% failure rate with the two visitors who wanted to
    look at some notes that were linked to a web page but did not know how
    to do it. The link says Click _here_. It is followed by the usual
    advice on getting the Adobe Acrobat Reader and both did that although
    they probably already had it. If you want to see the actual page the
    relevant bit is at the bottom of <http://shirley.profectus.com.au>.

    Should I have used more contrast for the word "here" and/or made the
    link text longer? Should I have created a button for the link and, if
    so, would "here" be a sufficient label for the button? Other ideas?
     
    David Segall, Sep 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. David Segall wrote:
    > I recently had a 100% failure rate with the two visitors who wanted to
    > look at some notes that were linked to a web page but did not know how
    > to do it. The link says Click _here_. It is followed by the usual
    > advice on getting the Adobe Acrobat Reader and both did that although
    > they probably already had it. If you want to see the actual page the
    > relevant bit is at the bottom of <http://shirley.profectus.com.au>.
    >
    > Should I have used more contrast for the word "here" and/or made the
    > link text longer? Should I have created a button for the link and, if
    > so, would "here" be a sufficient label for the button? Other ideas?


    Contrast would go along way. Using 'here' for the link is rather bad
    practice, far better to put a real description withing the link text:


    <a href="http://profectus.com.au/text/PortraitNotes.pdf">Shirley's
    notes</a> are mainly reminiscences about the Segall family (PDF 342KB).

    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
     
    Jonathan N. Little, Sep 21, 2006
    #2
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  3. David Segall wrote:

    > I recently had a 100% failure rate with the two visitors who wanted to
    > look at some notes that were linked to a web page but did not know
    > how to do it. The link says Click _here_. It is followed by the usual
    > advice on getting the Adobe Acrobat Reader and both did that although
    > they probably already had it. If you want to see the actual page the
    > relevant bit is at the bottom of <http://shirley.profectus.com.au>.
    >
    > Should I have used more contrast for the word "here" and/or made the
    > link text longer? Should I have created a button for the link and, if
    > so, would "here" be a sufficient label for the button? Other ideas?


    "Click here" or "here" is never a good text for a link. Google for
    numerous past references.

    I would change it from:
    You can view the notes <a href="text/PortraitNotes.pdf"> here</a>.
    to:
    <a href="text/PortraitNotes.pdf">View the notes</a>.

    and I would change the hover colour to perhaps a pale yellow, rather
    than the dull darker gray on medium gray. The link underline is also
    quite faint; sharpen that up as well.

    Aside: on pages of mine where PDF downloads are available, I include
    the usual Adobe Reader link and instructions, but also include same for
    alternative readers, usually FoxItReader, and explain that it is much
    more lightweight and less intrusive than Adobe.

    --
    -bts
    -Motorcycles defy gravity; cars just suck.
     
    Beauregard T. Shagnasty, Sep 21, 2006
    #3
  4. Jonathan N. Little wrote:

    > Contrast would go along way. Using 'here' for the link is rather bad
    > practice, far better to put a real description withing the link text:
    >
    >
    > <a href="http://profectus.com.au/text/PortraitNotes.pdf">Shirley's
    > notes</a> are mainly reminiscences about the Segall family (PDF 342KB).
    >


    It also would not hurt to repeat the link above in the bio where your
    mention Shirley's notes.

    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
     
    Jonathan N. Little, Sep 21, 2006
    #4
  5. David Segall

    richard Guest

    "David Segall" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I recently had a 100% failure rate with the two visitors who wanted to
    > look at some notes that were linked to a web page but did not know how
    > to do it. The link says Click _here_. It is followed by the usual
    > advice on getting the Adobe Acrobat Reader and both did that although
    > they probably already had it. If you want to see the actual page the
    > relevant bit is at the bottom of <http://shirley.profectus.com.au>.
    >
    > Should I have used more contrast for the word "here" and/or made the
    > link text longer? Should I have created a button for the link and, if
    > so, would "here" be a sufficient label for the button? Other ideas?


    You could also embed the "Adobe reader" logo into the page.
    Using the image as a link.
    "if you don't have the reader, you can click the logo and download it".
     
    richard, Sep 21, 2006
    #5
  6. David Segall

    dorayme Guest

    In article
    <HSwQg.195175$>,
    "Beauregard T. Shagnasty" <> wrote:

    > David Segall wrote:
    >
    > > I recently had a 100% failure rate with the two visitors who wanted to
    > > look at some notes that were linked to a web page but did not know
    > > how to do it. The link says Click _here_. It is followed by the usual
    > > advice on getting the Adobe Acrobat Reader and both did that although
    > > they probably already had it. If you want to see the actual page the
    > > relevant bit is at the bottom of <http://shirley.profectus.com.au>.
    > >


    What others have said. Black text on such a dark grey makes folk
    work too hard. About the link, when I provide PDF files, I always
    say something about right clicking or control clicking and
    downloading so that people do not have to try to open it in a
    browser that is not suitably equipped. The link to the Reader is
    not enough.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Sep 21, 2006
    #6
  7. David Segall

    Jim Higson Guest

    richard wrote:

    >
    > "David Segall" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >>I recently had a 100% failure rate with the two visitors who wanted to
    >> look at some notes that were linked to a web page but did not know how
    >> to do it. The link says Click _here_. It is followed by the usual
    >> advice on getting the Adobe Acrobat Reader and both did that although
    >> they probably already had it. If you want to see the actual page the
    >> relevant bit is at the bottom of <http://shirley.profectus.com.au>.
    >>
    >> Should I have used more contrast for the word "here" and/or made the
    >> link text longer? Should I have created a button for the link and, if
    >> so, would "here" be a sufficient label for the button? Other ideas?

    >
    > You could also embed the "Adobe reader" logo into the page.
    > Using the image as a link.
    > "if you don't have the reader, you can click the logo and download it".


    I always find "you must get Adobe Acrobat" text very annoying.

    There is PDF reading software other than Acrobat. It is like saying "you
    must use internet explorer" in order to browse the web.

    PDF links? I just middle-click them and read the PDF in a browser tab. Very
    easy.

    --
    Jim
     
    Jim Higson, Sep 22, 2006
    #7
  8. David Segall

    David Segall Guest

    Jim Higson <> wrote:
    >
    >I always find "you must get Adobe Acrobat" text very annoying.
    >
    >There is PDF reading software other than Acrobat. It is like saying "you
    >must use internet explorer" in order to browse the web.

    I don't think they are comparable. The standard for web pages is
    published by a consortium not associated with any one browser. The PDF
    standard was developed and published by Adobe. It is likely that the
    Acrobat reader will cope best with the latest PDF version and, in any
    case, Adobe deserve the credit of a link even if you choose a
    different reader. If it was not for PDF the web would be full
    Microsoft Word documents and there is no published standard for them.
    >
    >PDF links? I just middle-click them and read the PDF in a browser tab. Very
    >easy.

    Since you did not specify an alternative I assume that means you do
    use Acrobat.
     
    David Segall, Sep 22, 2006
    #8
  9. On Fri, 22 Sep 2006, Jim Higson wrote:

    > PDF links? I just middle-click them and read the PDF in a browser
    > tab. Very easy.


    Well, at least you know how to use your own browser! But some authors
    make the mistake of assuming that all browsers are configured to work
    the same as their own, so they offer some wholly misleading
    instructions on what the user should do. So some naive users end up
    in even more confusion than if there were no instructions on the page,
    poor things.

    One of the original ideas of the web, I think it's fair to say[1], was
    that straightforward things would pretty much work intuitively: after
    5-10 minutes familiarisation with a new browser, no further
    instructions would be needed (of course, users who wanted to do more
    complicated things would expect to have to learn how, but that would
    be a function of their browser, *not* normally of the page that
    they're reading[2]).

    So, IMHO, if authors think that their web page needs a whole swath of
    instructions on how to use it, then they're probably doing something
    wrong. I'd recommend taking a step back and trying to understand why
    it's not working intuitively, as it's meant to.

    (It goes without saying that variations on "click here" are ipso facto
    the mark of an inept web author, n'est-ce pas?)

    regards

    [1] To save repeating myself, I offer you this item, written long ago
    and referring to some of TimBL's early materials on authoring style:
    http://ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk/~flavell/alt/alt-more.html#style

    [2] ok, there will be special cases where this doesn't apply.
    Puzzles, maybe, for example...
     
    Alan J. Flavell, Sep 22, 2006
    #9
  10. David Segall

    David Segall Guest

    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:

    >On Fri, 22 Sep 2006, Jim Higson wrote:
    >
    >> PDF links? I just middle-click them and read the PDF in a browser
    >> tab. Very easy.

    >
    >Well, at least you know how to use your own browser! But some authors
    >make the mistake of assuming that all browsers are configured to work
    >the same as their own, so they offer some wholly misleading
    >instructions on what the user should do. So some naive users end up
    >in even more confusion than if there were no instructions on the page,
    >poor things.
    >
    >One of the original ideas of the web, I think it's fair to say[1], was
    >that straightforward things would pretty much work intuitively: after
    >5-10 minutes familiarisation with a new browser, no further
    >instructions would be needed (of course, users who wanted to do more
    >complicated things would expect to have to learn how, but that would
    >be a function of their browser, *not* normally of the page that
    >they're reading[2]).
    >
    >So, IMHO, if authors think that their web page needs a whole swath of
    >instructions on how to use it, then they're probably doing something
    >wrong. I'd recommend taking a step back and trying to understand why
    >it's not working intuitively, as it's meant to.
    >
    >(It goes without saying that variations on "click here" are ipso facto
    >the mark of an inept web author, n'est-ce pas?)
    >
    >regards
    >
    >[1] To save repeating myself, I offer you this item, written long ago
    >and referring to some of TimBL's early materials on authoring style:
    >http://ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk/~flavell/alt/alt-more.html#style
    >
    >[2] ok, there will be special cases where this doesn't apply.
    >Puzzles, maybe, for example...
     
    David Segall, Sep 22, 2006
    #10
  11. David Segall

    David Segall Guest

    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:
    Ignore the previous post. It shows that I don't know how to use my own
    news reader.
    >(It goes without saying that variations on "click here" are ipso facto
    >the mark of an inept web author, n'est-ce pas?)
    >
    >regards
    >
    >[1] To save repeating myself, I offer you this item, written long ago
    >and referring to some of TimBL's early materials on authoring style:
    >http://ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk/~flavell/alt/alt-more.html#style

    I think I understood the English, Latin and French but I missed the
    pointer to the correct style for "Click here". In the non-web world
    "Click here" is common with buttons labeled "Push", "Press" etc. I was
    seeking, and I obtained, some useful advice but I resent the
    appellation of an "inept web author" from someone who offers dozens of
    irrelevant web pages in response to a specific question.
     
    David Segall, Sep 22, 2006
    #11
  12. On Fri, 22 Sep 2006, David Segall wrote:

    > >http://ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk/~flavell/alt/alt-more.html#style

    > I think I understood the English, Latin and French but I missed the
    > pointer to the correct style for "Click here".


    You could try the W3C's own tips on the topic:
    http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/noClickHere

    > I resent the appellation of an "inept web author" from someone who
    > offers dozens of irrelevant web pages in response to a specific
    > question.


    Welcome to usenet. Contributors offer what seems to them to be
    relevant to the topic - you are free to take or leave the advice you
    are offered. Do you often experience such feelings of resentment?

    bye

    --

    If the crash doesn't occur immediately, the [development] cycle is broken,
    and the result is called a release. -- detha, in the monastery.
     
    Alan J. Flavell, Sep 22, 2006
    #12
  13. David Segall

    Andy Dingley Guest

    Alan J. Flavell wrote:

    > One of the original ideas of the web, I think it's fair to say[1],


    Anyone using a phrase like "the original ideas of the web" will find a
    fascinating read in Hakon Lie's PhD thesis (URL recently posted).
    There's some fascinating stuff in there as a historical survey of
    contemporary ideas in document management and presentation, in the era
    of the early web.
     
    Andy Dingley, Sep 22, 2006
    #13
  14. David Segall

    David Segall Guest

    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:

    >On Fri, 22 Sep 2006, David Segall wrote:
    >
    >> >http://ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk/~flavell/alt/alt-more.html#style

    >> I think I understood the English, Latin and French but I missed the
    >> pointer to the correct style for "Click here".

    >
    >You could try the W3C's own tips on the topic:
    >http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/noClickHere
    >
    >> I resent the appellation of an "inept web author" from someone who
    >> offers dozens of irrelevant web pages in response to a specific
    >> question.

    >
    >Welcome to usenet. Contributors offer what seems to them to be
    >relevant to the topic - you are free to take or leave the advice you
    >are offered. Do you often experience such feelings of resentment?

    I am coping with my feelings and sometimes they provoke a helpful
    response from truly sympathetic contributors. Thanks for the W3C link.
     
    David Segall, Sep 22, 2006
    #14
  15. David Segall

    dorayme Guest

    In article
    <>,
    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:

    > One of the original ideas of the web, I think it's fair to say[1], was
    > that straightforward things would pretty much work intuitively: after
    > 5-10 minutes familiarisation with a new browser, no further
    > instructions would be needed (of course, users who wanted to do more
    > complicated things would expect to have to learn how, but that would
    > be a function of their browser, *not* normally of the page that
    > they're reading[2]).
    >
    > So, IMHO, if authors think that their web page needs a whole swath of
    > instructions on how to use it, then they're probably doing something
    > wrong. I'd recommend taking a step back and trying to understand why
    > it's not working intuitively, as it's meant to.


    There are practical things that come up where one feels obliged
    to say something about the mechanics now and then. I agree with
    what you say as an ideal to be followed where possible. Said this
    before (I think?), I have told people, among other things, to
    right or control click to download PDF files for printing and/or
    viewing on a couple of sites. On one site, it is a whole lot of
    big files that the organization wish to make available to people
    for printing and/or screen viewing. Files that are unlikely to be
    widely enough wanted to justify the expense of delving into them
    and making good HTML web pages on the material. In one case I
    made a special HTML page for all these files to go in a list. I
    felt obliged to say things, it is just a fact that a little
    earthy help is now and then called for...

    Think of the old silent movies, they mostly "spoke for
    themselves"... but many less educated people found some of the
    written words helpful. At the time, it might have been said that
    they would have been better works without these explanations,
    from the aethetic point of view - more is less and all that. But
    these are lofty notions if carried to extremes. Now, of course,
    these written words are part of the charming appeal of the silent
    movies.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Sep 22, 2006
    #15
  16. David Segall

    Guest

    Beauregard T. Shagnasty:

    [<http://shirley.profectus.com.au>]

    > I would change it from:
    > You can view the notes <a href="text/PortraitNotes.pdf"> here</a>.
    > to:
    > <a href="text/PortraitNotes.pdf">View the notes</a>.


    Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire! You have gone from
    'here', a word that merely fails to describe the resource, to 'View the
    notes', a phrase that (1) dictates *how* the user should experience the
    resource, or at least reveals how the author expects the user to
    experience it, and (2) presumes that the action performed on the link
    is a retrieval. Link text, I think, should say what the resource is,
    in this case Shirley Bourne's notes.

    Ideally, without recasting the paragraph, I would have the markup:

    <P>Sometime, fairly recently, Shirley decided to document her
    portraits. <A href="<URI>" title="Shirley Bourne's notes on her
    portraits">The notes</A> are mainly reminiscences about the Segall
    family.</P>

    The link destination could then be an abstract resource, not a
    particular representation. In other words, you could offer a PDF
    version and an HTML version, allowing the browser's Accept header to
    determine in the background which version the server should respond
    with. Alternatively, you could have a normal link (to the abstract
    resource) and a second link to a PDF version. The second link's URL
    could have a suffix <.pdf> since it identifies a particular
    representation of the resource.

    > Aside: on pages of mine where PDF downloads are available, I include
    > the usual Adobe Reader link and instructions, but also include same for
    > alternative readers, usually FoxItReader, and explain that it is much
    > more lightweight and less intrusive than Adobe.


    These instructions violate the principle Don't Mention The Mechanics.
    (Basil Fawlty's 'I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it'
    won't cut it on the WWW.) I do anticipate the counter argument that
    such instructions are acceptable because they are so common that users
    are by now familiar with them, but I regard that argument as weak since
    what is familiar is not necessarily what is best. After all, there are
    alternative ways of presenting the same information that do not involve
    mentioning the mechanics.

    --
    Jock
     
    , Sep 23, 2006
    #16
  17. David Segall

    dorayme Guest

    In article
    <>,
    wrote:

    > > Aside: on pages of mine where PDF downloads are available, I include
    > > the usual Adobe Reader link and instructions, but also include same for
    > > alternative readers, usually FoxItReader, and explain that it is much
    > > more lightweight and less intrusive than Adobe.

    >
    > These instructions violate the principle Don't Mention The Mechanics.
    > (Basil Fawlty's 'I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it'
    > won't cut it on the WWW.)


    They cut it all the time. Many people find such things useful.
    One should try to avoid it but not treat the principle as some
    sort of heaven sent tablet.

    > After all, there are
    > alternative ways of presenting the same information that do not involve
    > mentioning the mechanics.


    I wish I could be as cheerfully confident as you.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Sep 23, 2006
    #17
  18. David Segall

    Guest

    dorayme:

    > []:


    [PDF-reader link and instructions]

    > Many people find such things useful. One should try to avoid it but
    > not treat the principle as some sort of heaven sent tablet.


    One reason to follow the principle in general is that any mention of
    the mechanics detracts from the content proper. Instructions take up
    space. The canonical URL:

    http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/NoMechanics.html

    Another reason to follow the principle in this case is the difficulty
    of writing the instructions. Since all but the most basic instructions
    would necessarily be system-dependent, one set of instructions would
    not be sufficient. They would also be incomplete, because to cover all
    platforms, all browsers, and all users is not feasible. Brief
    instructions are probably useless: those who know what to do don't
    need any instruction and those who don't know what to do require fairly
    detailed instruction, instruction they can find either in the manual
    for their own system or in one of the webpages *about* PDF reading on
    the WWW.

    --
    Jock
     
    , Sep 25, 2006
    #18
  19. David Segall

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    wrote:

    > dorayme:
    >
    > > []:

    >
    > [PDF-reader link and instructions]
    >
    > > Many people find such things useful. One should try to avoid it but
    > > not treat the principle as some sort of heaven sent tablet.

    >
    > One reason to follow the principle in general is that any mention of
    > the mechanics detracts from the content proper.


    There are many reasons to avoid it, I agree. But this sort of
    reasoning worries me. "any mention..." sounds to me to be weak.
    To go on and on about it, yes. To not try to avoid the need, yes.
    But now and then one gets caught. I imagine it helps people that
    I very very occasionally "say things about the mechanics". In one
    case I mention that a following list of files are not intended to
    be viewed necessarily on screen but downloaded for printing, but
    that if viewing is wanted and simple clicking or double clicking
    is not succesful, to try to right or control click and then save
    etc.

    Yes, I have thought to make the headings convey the message
    "Publications for printing, not viewing" and other strategies.
    But in the end in a practical situation for which a client is
    paying good money, I want to make sure he is happy, his website
    users have success. And I can't be running to others all the time
    if I cannot see a time efficient "good design" solution. And to
    be fair, it may be that you are simply wrong and no one, however
    good, can do away with such help by clever design. I am not
    disagreeing with your sentiment here, just any extreme form of
    it.

    > Another reason to follow the principle in this case is the difficulty
    > of writing the instructions.
    > Since all but the most basic instructions
    > would necessarily be system-dependent, one set of instructions would
    > not be sufficient. They would also be incomplete, because to cover all
    > platforms, all browsers, and all users is not feasible. Brief
    > instructions are probably useless: those who know what to do don't
    > need any instruction and those who don't know what to do require fairly
    > detailed instruction, instruction they can find either in the manual
    > for their own system or in one of the webpages *about* PDF reading on
    > the WWW.


    I think this reasoning should not stop website makers from the
    occasional tactical intervention. Most people are on WinIE, a few
    on Mac. It is not difficult to say a few words and if it helps a
    whole bunch of people...

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Sep 26, 2006
    #19
  20. David Segall

    Guest

    Mentioning The Mechanics (was: Atracting attention to a link)

    dorayme:

    [re Mentioning The Mechanics]

    > There are many reasons to avoid it, I agree. But this sort of
    > reasoning worries me. "any mention..." sounds to me to be weak.


    What if it was worded more generally:

    Anything unrelated to the real content distracts
    the user from the real content.

    > To go on and on about it, yes. To not try to avoid the need, yes.
    > But now and then one gets caught. I imagine it helps people that
    > I very very occasionally "say things about the mechanics".


    I think I would need examples to agree or disagree with that.

    > In one case I mention that a following list of files are not intended
    > to be viewed necessarily on screen but downloaded for printing,
    > but that if viewing is wanted and simple clicking or double
    > clicking is not succesful, to try to right or control click and then
    > save etc.


    Remembering this is the WWW, I don't think users have to have any
    conception of files, of downloading, of screens, of (double, right, or
    control) clicking, of printing. 'Viewing' is too restrictive. And
    there seems to be an underlying assumption that retrieval is the only
    action performed on URLs. These are all system- and user-specific
    details that I would try to avoid mentioning.

    > Yes, I have thought to make the headings convey the message
    > "Publications for printing, not viewing" and other strategies.


    That's still mentioning the mechanics.

    > But in the end in a practical situation for which a client is
    > paying good money, I want to make sure he is happy, his website
    > users have success. And I can't be running to others all the time
    > if I cannot see a time efficient "good design" solution. And to
    > be fair, it may be that you are simply wrong and no one, however
    > good, can do away with such help by clever design. I am not
    > disagreeing with your sentiment here, just any extreme form of
    > it.


    I think we would need specific examples to agree or disagree with each
    other since we're both talking generally.

    > > Another reason to follow the principle in this case is the difficulty
    > > of writing the instructions. Since all but the most basic instructions
    > > would necessarily be system-dependent, one set of instructions would
    > > not be sufficient. They would also be incomplete, because to cover all
    > > platforms, all browsers, and all users is not feasible. Brief
    > > instructions are probably useless: those who know what to do don't
    > > need any instruction and those who don't know what to do require fairly
    > > detailed instruction, instruction they can find either in the manual
    > > for their own system or in one of the webpages *about* PDF reading on
    > > the WWW.

    >
    > I think this reasoning should not stop website makers from the
    > occasional tactical intervention.


    It describes the difficulty of writing instructions for everyone or
    anyone.

    --
    Jock
     
    , Sep 26, 2006
    #20
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