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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
"Gill, Kathy" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 10:26:56 -0800
Peter Gorny <[log in to unmask]>
"Gill, Kathy" <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (63 lines)
> From:         Peter Gorny[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent:         Thursday, March 04, 1999 10:09 AM
> At 13:36 Uhr -0800 03.03.1999, Gill, Kathy wrote:
> ...
> ] I sure wish there was some research on this .... Jared?? Jakob??
> ]
> ] Also - re the Dell site, I visited -- with NN 4.5,
> ]and I got underlines. And not all hypertext links had little "arrows" or
> ]"buttons" ... Plus, I'd find those graphics annoying buried in the middle
> ]of a paragraph.
> I was not able to follow this discussion from its beginning, but
> there is a small remar about some findings we made in usability tests:
> -- on "navigation pages" the looks of links don't matter, as long as
>    they can be recognized as interactive elements on the page.
Peter -- how does the end user "recognize" the link as an interactive element without the underline? Are you saying that in a left-hand navigation bar, for example, the user automatically assumes these are navigation elements? If so, that makes some sense to me. I still have trouble using color alone as the signal, however, given what I've read from Tufte and given an 8% color-impairment among men.

> -- on content pages the underlined and colored links distract from
>    continuous reading (because the links look so "important" -- just as
>    underlined text in print media they are supposed to catch the
>    readers' attention.)
Well, if the hypertext is written correctly (not "click here" for example), then I believe the underline helps the user "find out" if the info that they are looking for is actually on the page. Research suggests readers "don't read" but instead "skim" when "reading" on screen (and from my personal experience, any "non-paper" reading).

If we are talking about a long treatise, essay, etc. I can see the use of footnote-type links, so long as it's clear what will happen when you click on one. Of course, I don't read those online - it's too much trouble. I print the info and read at leisure. Am I so unusual in that practice?

A commentary on "readabilty" and "usability" .... I took light rail from Santa Clara convention center to San Jose convention center on Tuesday. I had to buy a ticket. HAH. no way was that machine's interface tested! Imagine a square -- traditional "start" would be upper left corner for westerners ... this one started at a point 1/3 "in" and 1/3 "down" from that UL corner. [The left hand column was step by step instructions - which personality types actually READ these instructions before beginning?] It ended, not in the lower right corner, but lower Left. And of course, since I had money in hand, I looked for the "insert coin slot" and tried to start at step 3, which was (almost) upper right hand corner. It was a joy - sorry I didn't have a camera, it would be great entry into the "interface hall of shame." of course, the parking meters at SeaTac airport are equally "well" designed!

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