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From: Daryle Walker (darylew_at_[hidden])
Date: 2006-03-21 21:13:19

On 3/21/06 2:14 PM, "David Abrahams" <dave_at_[hidden]> wrote:

> 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?

I forgot the exact name and address of site at the time I wrote that
sentence. I found the site among my bookmarks later. The guys doing that
site do research on what web design and/or UI works and what doesn't.

>> 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.

If you're "below average" in web browsing, then how did you discover the
feature? Do you scrub all the text on every page? (This is very tedious,
which is why making non-links or links look like the other is very bad web
UI.) Did you already know from reading Joel's original message? Or was it
blind luck?

Is the feature superior than just copy & paste from the browser's input
control (or status line)?

>> 1. This word is an out-link without looking like an out-link.
> What's an "out-link?"

Links enclosed in '...' that go _out_ of the current
page. An in-link is an anchor within a page. I forgot the exact
terminology; I should have just stuck with "links" and "anchors" for out-
and in-links, respectively.

>> 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.

But the web author still wasted time and disk space making an "Easter
egg"-like feature. And it was for making a convoluted alternative to an
easy operation (just look at the status line).

> 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
> place.

The guideline mentioned making visited and unvisited links distinct. I
extended the idea to a third category; non-links have to be kept distinct
from the two link appearances.

>> 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.

Whoa, are we talking about the same thing? The link I'm talking about jumps
neither to a different sub-section of the same page nor a section of another
page; the link goes the same page it's on, as a whole. (I didn't try
clicking it;... I just did and it acts just like I said. Did you try?)

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

Such a link brings the user to the beginning to the same page s/he is
currently on. If the link is within the first screen of that page, then
s/he doesn't see a difference, so s/he suspects that the link-click failed.

>> (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.

I think you've made a wrong assumption about what I, and guideline #10, am
talking about. Peeking at some later messages in this thread, I think that
you think I'm banning links that jump to different sections with the same
page. I'm not, I'm only talking about links that jump to the page as a
whole, i.e. no "#section_whatever" at the end of the URL. The link type
you're talking about doesn't even exist on Joel's example page.

Daryle Walker
Mac, Internet, and Video Game Junkie
darylew AT hotmail DOT com

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