Effective Hypertext

2 10 2007

I think that an effective hypertext is going to have to follow some of the same rules as a written text.  Like an good literature it should have a theme.  There should be some reason that the text exist.  It should be trying to say something.  I think it is easy for a hypertext not to have this because of technology.  It is easy to get caught up in graphics and neat tricks and not have a purpose for your text.  For the hypertext to have an impact those graphics and neat tricks need to tie into the meaning of the text and help to further it.

The writing in a hypertext should have to be good.  It should also be concise.  Because the writer is battling with changing screens and the short attention spans created by this kind of work, the writing shouldn’t be hard to understand.  It is possible to say what you mean in just a few words and that is a skill that should be applied to this type of media.  Concise, however, does not mean boring.  The writing and the theme should be interesting enough to keep your reader continuing on.

A good hypertext should also have some form of structure.  Obviously it can’t have the same structure and organization as a book text, but there should be some sort of meaning to why things are where they are.  There can be parts of the hypertext that are somewhat random, but since the hypertext is generated by a computer none of it is truly going to be random.  The parts of the hypertext that are random should be that way for a reason.  The structure should, just like in a book text, be somewhat invisible.  It is important that it hold the text together, but shouldn’t be obvious to your reader or overshadow the writing.

-Mary Laing




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