HYPERTEXT: Color Counts in Linking

March 26th, 2009 by susan

Even as I claim that I’m learning the purpose and impact of patterns of linking, I find myself going back and fixing, changing, modifying links to offset a sometimes itchy feeling that a passage may be better off linked to an earlier segment of story, a different lexia that returns the reader to a point in the story where he must stop and reread the information to understand it from a different angle.

What I am finding also is that there is a certain importance to the color of text links. Two things have come up. One is that the initial links can be more emphatic in color, more in contrast to the inactive text. This relevance of color tells the reader that there are interesting things to be found, the brighter color a present of sorts as well as an assurance that he will not overlook them by reading the entire space of the lexia before wandering away. I find this point rather important; I don’t know how others read a hypertext story, but I’ve learned to squelch that impulse to click on the first link I come to and instead read the entire text of a space before moving on.

A more interesting element is the ‘visited’ link, and here I find that a still obvious but more subtle color is a soft reminder that the reader can go back to places he’s been, and yet there is a way of knowing that fact so that he may choose not to do so. There is the careful selection by the writer (my apologies to Barthes, but writer here refers to the originator of the text) of particular words that refer back (and forward) to a portion of narrative that may be either enhanced in meaning or be offering an alternate view.

My hope is that I can transfer this positive experience in practicing on short short stories to the longer stories I’ll be writing in hypertext.

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