Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Sept. 7, 2022, 6:43 a.m. Humanist 36.159 - reading and hypertexted texts?

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 159.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2022-09-07 05:39:37+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: reading and hypertexted texts

Is anyone here aware of studies done to determine the effects on reading
of heavily linked texts? I suspect from my own experience that links are
quite often a distraction, even when the software presenting the text
displays them as blue underlined words. (Humanist, for example, does not
do that; URLs are always visible.) Then, too, linking items that can
easily be found is otiose. It is also suggests the presumed reader is
not only not reading, only prowling for information, but also either too
lazy or insufficiently competent to find this information unassisted.

Even a cursory study of magazine advertisements across a range of
publications will show that those which are presenting expensive
products are very often quite simple, uncluttered, even elegant, while
those selling cheap things are cluttered, noisy, garish etc. Inelegant,
overstated design, I suggest, communicates low price, cheap goods. If we
translate this into presentation of text online, I suggest that heavily
hypertexted text communicates, well, you see the point...

And now extend that to self-advertising online...

Comments? Arguments?

Willard McCarty,
Professor emeritus, King's College London;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist

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