O'Sullivan Fenton, Hannon Group Blog

Three good uses for hyperlinks

Posted in Uncategorized by hyperlinks3 on May 12, 2010

Ross Hannon

According to Robert Niles on the Online Journalism Review, the three principle reasons for hyperlinking within an article are “to cite an attribution, to provide context for an article, and to reward readers with an ‘easter egg’”. Examples of attribution hyperlinks would be court records, research papers and census databases. Readers can view these records by clicking on the link but the article itself is not compromised by an overload of numbers and figures. An abundance of percentages and figures in a story can put the reader off easily. It’s too much information to take in and readers, especially online readers, have a short attention span. The aim is to give the reader as little work to do as possible and make it as smooth a read as possible.

Hyperlinks to give context often serve to link to a definition of an unfamiliar term or idea. Linking to background information is also helpful in familiarizing new readers with the material in question, while also catering for more informed readers who can continue without distraction.

Easter Eggs are hyperlinks that are there simply for the amusement of the reader. Often a surprise gag, easter eggs come as a welcome change from what could be a heavy, uninspiring news article. A good example of an easter egg is the popular internet meme of “rickrolling”. A person would be linked to a video of what they thought was related to the subject at hand, but instead they would be brought to a youtube video of the singer Rick Astley performing his hit single “Never Gonna Give You Up”. This became a popular gag among online journalists and bloggers alike as Astley’s eccentric dancing in the video is so ridiculous it’s funny.

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