Eastgate Systems     Serious Hypertext

The best route

Just as garden paths craft our experience, hypertext paths can lead readers while also enhancing their journey. A simple search can link readers directly to a destination, but thoughtful designers lead visitors not only to the answer to their question, but to better questions as well.

For instance, readers might come to a Web catalog to check the price of a new computer. A direct approach simply delivers the raw data. A more carefully-planned path could lead visitors to this data in the context of:

  • alternative computers (e.g. new models)
  • different options (e.g. upgrading old equipment)
  • other interesting products (e.g. ergonomic furniture designed for this computer).

The path must not twist so much that visitors think they are being led astray, nor be so slow that visitors give up and strike cross-country through search engines. Nevertheless, twists and detours can help designers give their readers more than they expect.

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Eastgate Systems