7 Keys to the Discipline of Linking

Following my recent STC Webinar on Every Page is Page One, an attendee wrote to ask about the discipline of linking. Unfortunately, that email mysteriously vanished from my inbox before I could answer personally, so, whoever asked, I hope you see the answer here.

Linking is important to Every Page is Page One and to a bottom-up information architecture. When readers can enter your content at any individual page, links are what orient them in the larger content set and what keep them in your content rather than sending them back to their search engine. read more

Reference Distance Zero: Beyond Linear Information Design

Summary: Designing information for paper was largely about managing reference distance. On the Web, the reference distance is zero. A completely different set of design requirements apply.

Linear information design

Traditional information design thinking has always been linear. This is a consequence of the medium in which the vast majority of information was presented: paper.

Whether you roll it into a scroll or chop it up into pages and bind them into a book, paper is a linear medium. This presents a fundamental information design problem: some of the things you want to talk about in the real world have complex relationships that cannot be laid out in a single straight line. read more

Why Your Content Needs More Links

Technical Communications needs to make far greater use of linking than it does today. Here’s why.

In a blog post WordPress for Beginners: Too Many Choices? Sufyan bin Uzayr quotes an email from novelist Meg Justus about her frustrations trying to get started with WordPress:

The reason I’m finding self-hosted WordPress so complicated is that it asks me to find a theme first, before I even know what I’m looking for. All the “how to choose a theme” websites I find assume I know far more about what I want out of a theme than I do. Most of the language used to describe themes isn’t language I understand (WordPress’s own “search for a theme” is horrible in this respect – how am I supposed to limit down by function if I don’t understand what the words describing those functions mean?) read more

The Nature of Hypertext

Hypertext means more than just text with a bunch of links in it

Hypertext is something of a neglected subject these days. Everyone is talking about the Web, but nobody is talking about the class of thing the Web is: a hypertext environment. But to neglect this essential fact about the nature of the Web is to risk getting your approach to the Web seriously wrong.

Perhaps people associate the term hypertext purely with linking. But I would suggest that there is much more to hypertext than links. Hypertext is about the non-linear traversal of information spaces, and while links were the first tool created for this, there are now four key drivers of hypertext: read more