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From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2006-03-21 14:14:20

Daryle Walker <darylew_at_[hidden]> writes:

> [I've added the main Boost list to this response so the MPL guys can see
> it.]
> On 3/16/06 5:46 AM, "Joel de Guzman" <joel_at_[hidden]> wrote:
>> In the link I presented a while ago (,
>> you might have noticed that the headings are clickable.
>> Headings now link to itself. Again, this is borrowed from
>> the MPL docs. This allows you to right click and copy
>> the URL, for example (especially useful in deeply nested
>> sections). You know where you are, anywhere.
> [That URL is
> <
> kbook/intro.html>, BTW. Check out the first word "Introduction"
> right before the quote for the link Joel is talking about.]
> I've read on some web design website that this is horrible UI.

Why is "some web design website" an arbiter of good UI?

> This is a feature that may be "kewl" for very advanced users, but
> it's obscure for above-average users, and detrimental to anyone
> else.

I'm a below-average or middling web user and for me it has nothing to
do with "kewlness." Once I discovered the feature I considered it useful.

> 1. This word is an out-link without looking like an out-link.

What's an "out-link?"

> We shouldn't be presenting data like Easter egg hunts. You could
> counter by saying that the disguise is a good thing to dissuade
> newbies, but then how could oldbies discover it without looking at
> the source, scrubbing the page, or reading this e-mail? (It's a
> variant of guideline #3 at
> <>.)

It's useful if you discover it, but non-crucial, so it doesn't matter
if you don't discover it. Coloring the text like a link would hurt
overall readability of the page, which is more important than
discovering this back-link.

Furthermore, I don't see any relation to guideline #3 there:

  3. Use color to distinguish visited and unvisited links

This is about whether you can tell it's a link at all in the first

> 2. Out-links to the same page is confusing to newbies. They'll
> think "my link click failed," not "it's a mnemonic for my browser's
> 'copy URL link' contextual-menu function."

It isn't a memnonic for that. Did you even try clicking it? It links
back to the TOC entry that links to the heading, so you can see the
context you're in. I suppose Jonathan Turkanis' menu control might be
able to solve the same problem, but apparently we're not ready to use
that everywhere, yet.

Why do you think newbies will consider their link click to have

> (It's based on guideline #10 from the web page I
> mentioned in [1].)

That guideline is useless because it precludes putting a linked TOC on
the page. The rationale is wrong as long as the page is too large to
fit on the screen all at once.

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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