Links Do Not Convey Enough Information

The problem with hyperlinks, and non-linear communication in general, is that it does not give you enough information to make the decision of "where to go from here". Historically, newspaper designers have helped readers decided what to read next by using multiple entry points (photos, pull-quotes, snappy headlines, graphs, leads, teasers, etc).

Online, designers have all of these tools and more (audio, video, etc) however, the space limitations are much more extreme. With the vast majority of links on each page being represented by just a few underlined words. Furthermore:

  • Photos are often too small and to slow to lead people online. Unlesss immediately recognizeable, they're often a poor entry point.
  • Banner-blindness has caused many users to ignore content on the page that is calling for their attention, instead trusting "quieter" more subdued links.