An Effective Hypertext

30 09 2007

I have recently begun to understand what an effective hypertext is, after class discussions, and especially after creating a hypertext site of my own. There are thoughts and considerations that you have to include when creating a hypertext. I think that the most important thing to consider when creating a hypertext is making sure that it is readable. What is readable? I good sized font; not to large to covey “screaming” and not to small that the content is unable to be seen. One thing that I learned while constructing my own hypertext is that the font and the background color have to be contrasted; one is lightly colored and one dark. In this case, the font will be brightly seen against the background. I also learned to not make the background the same color a previously-clicked link. This will make the link disappear into the background and hard to find if the reader wants to re-click the link.

I think that an effective hypertext should also have some type of multimedia incorporated into it. This will keep the audience interested. The pictures and sounds could related to the content of the text in order to give the audience a visual of the occurring events or discussion. You could also use java or shockwave to cause the text or pictures to move back and forth or across the screen. All of these things can enhance your hypertext.


A True Hypertext

30 09 2007

Unlike reading a book hypertext gives the reader choices on where they choose to go.   Its hypertext because it isnt restrained to just be text; it includes artwork, sound, animation links to keep the reader on the page; The possibilities with Hypertext are endless.

A Hypertext is never constrained to be linear  Geoff Ryman’s work is a great example of a true hypertext:  253: A Novel for the Internet about London Underground in Seven Cars and a Crash As well as Shelley Jackson’s  Patchwork Girl

The evolution with hypertext is relativelly new and finding information regarding the effectiveness of its purpose and  use is a real task!

Effective Hypertext

29 09 2007

The criteria for an effective hypertext can be hard to determine since I’ve only seen a few of them. From the hypertexts that I have seen, I think the most important things include literary content, links that help create meaning, and having multiple layers of meaning throughout the whole piece.

I place literary content at the forefront of my list because if the whole point of my being on the site–to read it–is lacking, I will lose interest in the entire thing. Of the hypertexts we have looked at so far, Vniverse was my favorite in this field.

The second most important feature of an effective hypertext is the links, specifically that they help create meaning. For this, I think Hegirascope was the best. Though on the surface, it seemed as though Hegirascope’s links detracted from the meaning of the piece, I say they actually added to it. One of the themes of the work was disorder creating order. The overarching, obscured themes of the work were reinforced by the links and their seemingly random paths.

The third most important part of a hypertext is the presence of multiple layers of meaning. Since a hypertext allows for several forms of media (text, image, color, audio, etc.), I expect to be able to pick out several different themes and purposes of it. For example, in Vniverse, the poems themselves are amazing. I would be satisfied reading them on their own, they need no other media to make them fantastic. However, the fact that they are but a portion of a whole work, I expect to receive more meaning through the images and structure of the piece. By displaying the poems through constellations, I am prompted to think about how each stanza and sonnet is connected to the others. Like stars, they are all separate but can be connected and made to create a larger meaning through that connection.


What is effective hypertext?

28 09 2007

There are two things I consider to be important when evaluating the effectiveness of a hypertext: the content, and the design. One of the unique attributes of hypertext is how these two criteria are capable of interacting with each other.

In regard to content, I think the criteria to be effective would be the same as any other literary publication. In other words, the same rules apply to a hypertext novel as a print novel. The reader has certain expectations of plot, perspective, characterization, etc. The medium shouldn’t extricate the author from forming a cohesive story. Similarly in poetry, the conventions of print poems should be adopted. (I’m not really familiar with what these are, but I would assume stanzas, rhyming, etc.) While these standards should be respected, I don’t think they cannot be manipulated. Story arcs need not be in a linear format, from one page to the next, but they do need to be included. Similarly, adding a link to an illustration of a character, or linking a description of a winter forest to a video of snow falling on trees would be further examples. These points become moot, however, if an author is using McLuhan’s perspective of the “medium as message”, by intentionally removing the hypertext from the traditions of print text. At this early stage of literary hypertext creation, I think the process would currently benefit from throwbacks to the old styles of print writing, while gradually evolving as the medium becomes more commonly accepted.

Considering the design of an effective hypertext is difficult. The computing technology used to create hypertexts changes so rapidly, that keeping design standards modern for any period of time becomes tedious. Ten years ago, putting more than a few images into a hypertext may diverted the audience because of download speeds. Today, a web page with nothing but text and 4 colors will drive away readers used to pages adorned with flash animations, video, and billions of colors. So at the most basic level, an effective hypertext design should simply require easy navigation, discernible boundaries, and as visually interesting an interface as possible. These standards are the same for a website using the most basic HTML, to a website using all the latest java, flash, xml, and whatever new advances come along.

The overlap of content and design is the point at which hypertext has the greatest possibilities to be uniquely effective. If a writer can successfully integrate the way a page looks with what the page is trying to communicate, then hypertext becomes a very interesting departure from the printed medium.

-Brian Howell


27 09 2007

i think the first necessity for a hyperlink page is obviously for the links to work.  However, it is just as important for the page to grab the readers attention.  making a page interactive can also grab the readers attention and draw in other viewers.  by far the most interesting page i have seen is the “firefly” poem. Not only is it asthetically pleasing, but the links are easy and interesting instead of tedious and frustrating, like for example hegirascope or stained word window.  however firefly is still somewhat randon.  typically the reader will know where the hypertext is going to take them.  if the reader clickes on a link that says “click here to learn about butterflies”  chances are that link will lead to information on butterflies.

What makes an effective hypertext literature?

26 09 2007

I think that Vniverse and Firefly were the most effective hypertext work. In Firefly, you were able to change things around until you found something that spoke to you, but it wasn’t completely random. She had still written all of the words, chosen which line they would be available in, and made sure they would all work together. It felt like something you could explore for a long time and still be satisfied. Vniverse was similar with the interactions, but it spoke more to me with the constellations. You could run your mouse over random stars, go through a constellation at a time, or enter a number in the upper right corner between 1-232 and see where it takes you. They had the necessary options of choice of where to go, and a strong feeling of interactivity.

Hejirascope was the second best to me. It was so massive, and has so many possible routes, that you can be pretty sure that the order you go in hasn’t been tried before. It also makes use of hypertext in a way a print book couldn’t, with the automatic page changes and the pages like the all black one with multiple links you had to highlight to see, or the more tongue-in-cheek one which simply said ‘ –click- ‘ in the middle, which wasn’t actually a link. It challenges you, and makes you really consider where to classify it – it has multiple storylines, but you are not allowed to follow them through.

Stained word window was the least effective use of the hypertext medium for me. I felt like I was just skimming through a book of poetry. I must admit, poetry is not my strongest point, so I tend to look at the form more than the content on pages like this. The two methods of moving around – through the window or by selecting chosen words in the poem, didn’t work together and weren’t well matched. The form wasn’t effective for the work either – it did not encourage people to linger until they had read the whole poem and digested it, because a slip of the mouse and another work comes up. However, it didn’t have enough to make it feel like the exploration of the wild that hejirascope results in.

I think that out of all of these, the hypertext literature that combined creative and interesting presentation with interactivity that had choice and many permutations without being completely random were the best. It is important that they make the medium feel necessary, as though it could not have been done in another form. To me, some of the texts we looked at were more effective than others.

 –Amy Goodwin (<–almost forgot that part again)

Week 5: Hypertext Evaluation

26 09 2007

As you prepare for the hypertext critique, consider your criteria for effective literary hypertexts. There are thousands of years of tradition informing our criteria for effective poetry, drama, and fiction; hypertext has existed for less than fifty years. As a literary form, it has almost no tradition. So, how can we determine whether a hypertext work is any good? What are your criteria for judging a literary hypertext? Consider the four we’ve navigated: Hejirascope, Firefly, Stained Word Window, and Vniverse. What works? What doesn’t? Why?

–dr t