Hypertext Gardens

By Mark Bernstein

How can the of hypertext invite readers to stay, to explore, and to reflect?

Establishing a Path


Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas (page)>Into the Garden (link)>Introduction (page)>How can the craft of hypertext invite readers to stay, to explore, and to reflect? (link)>A New Path (page)>Beyond Navigation (link)>Beyond The Navigation Problem (page)>development of the Web (link)>Recapitulation (page)>The Limits of Structure (link)>The Limits of Structure (page)>Netscape (link)>Netscape (page)>back button>Gardens and Parks (link)>Gardens and Paths (page)>Interesting things await us (link)>Rigid design (page)>anything more (link)>Gardens (page)>The Virtue of Irregularity (link)>Virtue of Irregularity (page)>exactly as expected (link)>Shapes of Space (page)>the promise of the unexpected (link)>Unexpected Delight (page)>Gates and Signposts (link)>Gates and Signposts (page)>Order, too (link)>Repetition (page)>the effect of repetition (link)>Establishing Order (page)>Statuary and Follies (link)>Statuary and Follies: Punctuating the Reader Experience (page)>sharper relief through their constructed contrast (link)>Punctuation (page)>Planning Pathways (link)>Planning Pathways (page)>the best routes (link)>The best route (page)>more than they expect (link)>Curves and Crossings (page)>explore more deeply (link)>Seven Lessons from Gardening (page)>In Conclusion (link)>Garden's End (page).

Reading the Path


From the Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas page, I clicked on the link, Into the Garden. From there I was brought to an Introduction page and after reading the text, I clicked on the link, How can the craft of hypertext invite readers to stay, to explore, and to reflect? Upon clicking on that link, I was brought to a page titled, A New Path. I then clicked on the Beyond Navigation link and was brought to a page called, Beyond The Navigation Problem. After clicking on an in-text link called development of the web, I was brought to a page called Recapitulation. After reading the page, I clicked on a link at the bottom titled, The Limits of Structure. Upon clicking on the link, I was brought to a page called, The Limits of Structure. In an in-text link toward the bottom of a page, was a link to Netscape, which I clicked on. The link brought me to a separate page, which turned out to be the homepage for AOL. I then went back to the Limits of Structure page and clicked on Gardens and Parks, a link at the bottom of the Limits of Structure page. I was then brought to the page, Gardens and Paths, where I read and then clicked on an in-text link to Interesting things await us. I was brought to a page called Rigid design where I clicked on the in-text link, anything more. The link brought me to a page called Gardens, where I clicked on the link, The Virtue of Irregularity at the bottom of the page. The link brought me to a page called, Virtue of Irregularity and I clicked on an in-text link there called, exactly as expected. I was then brought to a page called Shapes of Space and clicked on an in-text link called, the promise of the unexpected. The link, the promise of the unexpected, then brought me to a page called, Unexpected Delight. After reading the text, I clicked on a link at the bottom of the page, Gates and Signposts. The link brought me to a page called Gates and Signposts, where I clicked on an in-text link, Order, too. The link brought me to a page called Repetition, and had an in-text link called, the effect of repetition to which I clicked on. I was then brought to a page called Establishing Order. After reading the text, I clicked on a link at the bottom of the page called, Statuary and Follies. Upon clicking on the link, I was brought to a page called Statuary and Follies: Punctuating the Reader Experience. Toward the end of the page, in the block of text, I clicked on the in-text link, sharper relief through their constructed contrast. This link brought me to a page called, Punctuation. I then clicked on the Planning Pathways link at the bottom of the page. The Planning Pathways link brought me to the Planning Pathways page. I then clicked on the best routes, an in-text link. Upon arriving at the best route page, I read the text and then clicked on the in-text link, more than they expect, at the bottom of the page. Clicking on the more than they expect link brought me to a new page, Curves and Crossings. I then clicked on the explore more deeply in-text link, which brought me to a new page called, Seven Lessons from Gardening. Upon reading the seven lessons, I clicked on the link, In Conclusion... at the bottom of the page. This link brought me to a page called, the Garden's End, where I stopped.

A Latitude Map


Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas (page)
Into the Garden (link)
Introduction (page)
How can the craft of hypertext invite readers to stay, to explore, and to reflect? (link)
A New Path (page)
Beyond Navigation (link)
Beyond The Navigation Problem (page)
development of the Web (link)
Recapitulation (page)
The Limits of Structure (link)
The Limits of Structure (page)
Netscape (link)
Netscape (page) -- AOL
Gardens and Parks (link)
Gardens and Paths (page)
Interesting things await us (link)
Rigid design (page)
anything more (link)
Gardens (page)
The Virtue of Irregularity (link)
Virtue of Irregularity (page)
exactly as expected (link)
Shapes of Space (page)
the promise of the unexpected (link)
Unexpected Delight (page)
Gates and Signposts (link)
Gates and Signposts (page)
Order, too (link)
Repetition (page)
the effect of repetition (link)
Establishing Order (page)
Statuary and Follies (link)
Statuary and Follies: Punctuating the Reader Experience (page)
sharper relief through their constructed contrast (link)
Punctuation (page)
Planning Pathways (link)
Planning Pathways (page)
the best routes (link)
The best route (page)
more than they expect (link)
Curves and Crossings (page)
explore more deeply (link)
Seven Lessons from Gardening (page)
In Conclusion (link)
Garden's End (page)

Commentary and Summary


Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas (page)
The page is viewed as a series of links that can be clicked on it, subsequently will lead you to a new page.

Overall, the page is short. With several links to click on, there isn't an overload of information.

The Into the Garden link is the second of ten that users are able to click on. Since it is the first that will most likely provide information about Hypertext Gardens page, I click on it first.

Introduction (page)
Here, it is explained that the attention of the audience is the writer's most precious possession. Where readers click is very important, and thus, the reasoning behind why Hypertext Gardens exists is discovered.

Why is the text latitude and not longitude. Appear shorter? White color pops. Overall, the page is short.

At the bottom of the Introduction page is a link to be clicked on asking the question, "how can the craft of hypertext invite readers to stay, to explore, and to reflect?" I click on it because aside from the Tech: Building the garden link, it is the only indication of moving on from the current page.

A New Path (page)
Here the text shifts to the left. Short page.

It is explained that hypertext authors should look to many disciplines and to outside sources in order to form new techniques and insights about hypertext. An in-text link is provided to an outside sources where the author has explored how architecture and landscape design might guide users in creating hypertexts.

The first link of 4 is Beyond Navigation.

The first link of 4. Not wanting to jump into an area that could have used the text before it to explain it better, I click the first link.

Beyond The Navigation Problem (page)
Included here is the first visual. I thought it was a piece of cheese at first. A mess of links, though?

More text, still shifted to the left.

Text explains that in the beginning, hypertext writers and researchers were concerned that hypertexts would make readers confused. This was called the Navigation Problem. People sought to use navigation tools to fix it or by keeping links simple, etc. Over time, it was determined that muddled writing was more likely to be the source of confusion, not the hypertexts as it had seemed.

Aside from the Tech: The Navigation Problem link at the bottom of the page, this in-text link is the only available piece indicating a move forward.

Recapitulation (page)
Text in latitude form, longer page. Text more centered down page.

Web designers implemented tools to help confusion and sites that were turning out to be haphazard. This philosophy now dominates the web, as it is embodied in web magazines, corporate sites, special-interest collections, etc. Nav bars are now regarded as a necessary virtue.

The second of 4 links. I had already been to Entering the Garden, the first link so the second link seemed to be correct next step on my path.

The Limits of Structure (page)
Latitude text. Weird, bubbly side bar design on left. More text than usual so far. Includes sub-topics.

The structural rigidity that makes navigation simple, can make hypertext seem efficient but can also seem sterile and distant. Rigid structure is often promoted for its efficiency but excessive rigidity can be costly. Navigation pushes everything else out of the key pages, making design a perpetual headache. Corporate home pages like Netscape and Eastgate begin to look just like yahoo.

Seems as if it has a different set up than the other pages. Longer, and with bullet points in different text, or just smaller.

The first link of 3 that are in-text. Upon clicking on the link, a separate browser opens and the AOL homepage comes up.

Netscape (page) -- AOL
A homepage for AOL. Headline media news.

The third of 4 links at the bottom of the page. The first of which I hadn't yet been to.

Gardens and Paths (page)
Page is Gardens and Paths not Gardens and Parks like the link said. Short text with image of a wooded path next to it.

Unplanned hypertext sprawl is wilderness: (image reference) complex and interesting, but uninviting. We may be reluctant to plough through the brush.

In-text link is the only available move forward.

Rigid design (page)
Text is back over toward left-hand side of page, next to picture of building. Rigid building?

Rigid hypertext is simple, orderly, unsurprising. We may find it impressive but soon tire of the repetitive view. We enter to get something we need: once our task is done we are unlikely to linger.

Only available link to move forward. In-text link at the end of rigid design text.

Gardens (page)
Image on left-hand side of page with text next to it. Image of park.

The garden is farmland that delights the senses. The park is wilderness, tame for our enjoyment. Most hypertext aims neither for the wilderness of unplanned content, gardens and parks can inspire a new approach to hypertext design and can help understand the patterns we observe in fine hypertext writing.

The last of 4 links at the bottom of the page. The first of which I hadn't already clicked on.

Virtue of Irregularity (page)
Text in normal paragraph format toward top of the page. Decals with text of leaves?

Today's web designers are taught to avoid irregularity, but in a hypertext, as in a garden, it is the combo of regularity and irregularity that awakens interested and maintains attention.

Only in-text link that is available to move forward.

Shapes of Space (page)
Photo of wooden area, park perhaps. Text put around photo.

Parks and gardens shape our experience through careful combination of regularity and irregularity. A crafted irregularity engages our senses by offering the promise of the unexpected without the threat of the wilderness.

The only available link to move forward. In-text link.

Unexpected Delight (page)
Text in latitude form with small photo of park (used before), sitting above.

The key to planning a hypertext garden is to communicate the promise of unexpected delight while assuring the reader that he or she is not entering an unplanned wilderness. Comparing and contrasting rigid design and fluidity design.

The first of two links at the bottom of the page.

Gates and Signposts (page)
Photo on left-hand side of page with latitude text next ot it. Photo is of a park with a bridge and passway underneath.

Embedded and irregular links suggest the wildness of nature, where thumb tabs, lists, and menus all suggest the order of planning.

The only available link in order to move forward. In-text link.

Repetition (page)
Text is on left-hand side with photo on right side of text of the same photo in Gates and Signposts but with what looks like a sepia filter over it.

Repetition always signals intent and artifice. The effect of repetition is influenced but repeating some elements and varying others, or by repeating some aspects -- position, typography, color -- while varying others.

The only available link in order to move forward. In-text link.

Establishing Order (page)
Photo on left-hand side with text floating around it. Photo is of an archway in what looks like the entrance to a park.

Framing the visitor's first impression. Hypertexts can use formal frames and gateways to good effect, demonstrating design while also demonstrating a deliberate intent to avoid rigid structure.

The first of two links at the bottom of the page. Statuary and Follies sits above the second link, Planning Pathways, indicating that Statuary Follies should be the first click of the two.

Statuary and Follies: Punctuating the Reader Experience (page)
Two photos sit on either side of the latitude text. The photo appears to be split in two and is of a pond in a park, surrounded by trees.

Both hypertexts and gardens benefit from punctuation -- from exceptional elements injected that encourage readers to pause, to reflect, to look again.

The only available link in order to move forward. In-text link at end of text.

Punctuation (page)
Text surrounded by two bright yellow punctuation marks.

The same sort of sensory disjunction can revive attention and provoke reflection in a hypertext reader's experience. Diane Greco discussion. When the reader moves on, he encounters the next page at a different pace and in a different frame of mind.

The second of two links at the bottom of the page. Upon already clicking on the first link, the second, Planning Pathways, is the only available link that seems plausible to click on.

Planning Pathways (page)
Photo on left-hand side of page of a road surrounded by mountains. Text next to photo in latitude form.

Garden paths differ from highways in that they lead us through the best routes not the shortest.

The only available link to click on leading forward.

The best route (page)
Text on left-hand side of page with black and white photo of a garden in the Victorian era?

Hypertext paths can lead readers while also enhancing their journey, like garden paths craft our experience. A more carefully-planned path could lead visitors to this data in the context of:

- alternative computers
- different options
- other interesting products

Nevertheless, twists and detors can help designers give their readers more than they expect.

The only available link to click on in order to move forward. End of text, in-text.

Curves and Crossings (page)
Text around photo, which is set in upper left-hand corner of page. Image of a green curve and a blue line crossing through it.

Curves, interrupted views, intersections, and incidental detail make small spaces seem larger. Hypertext pathways and intersections, similarly, make small hypertexts appear richer and more varied.

Too many intersecting paths can confuse the visitor. Rigid and regular hypertext design is useful. Elsewhere, intersections and irregularities invite readers to explore more deeply, giving readers opportunities for unexpected discover and giving writers a better audience.

Only available link to click on in order to move forward. In-text link, toward the end of the text.

Seven Lessons from Gardening (page)
Numbers 1-7 on left-hand side of page with text separated throughout.

1: Hypertext disorientation most often arises from muddled writing, or from the complexity of the subject. Many hypertexts do not require elaborate navigational apparatus.
2: By repeatedly inviting readers to leave the hypertext, rigid structure can hide a hypertext's message and distort its voice.
3: The shortest path is not always the best.
4: Gardens are farmland that delights the senses and parks are wilderness, tamed for our enjoyment. Large hypertexts and web sites must often contain both parks and gardens.
5: Visual effects and other irregularities enhance pathways. But use punctuation sparingly; unwanted interruptions are tiresome and intrusive.
6: The boundaries of parks should be especially clear. Gateways introduce structure and guideposts confirm it, assuring visitors that they are in a crafted experience, not chaotic wilderness.
7: Rigid structure makes a large hypertext seem smaller. Complex and intricate structure makes a small hypertext seem larger, inviting deeper and more thoughtful exploration.

The only available link to click on in order move forward. Set at bottom of page.

Garden's End (page)
Text in normal paragraph form on left-hand side of page. Set with all the links of Hypertext Gardens at the end of page.

At times, wilderness is exactly what readers want: a rich collection of resources and links. At times, rigid formality suits readers perfectly, providing exactly what they want, no more and no less. Individual hypertexts and web sites may contain sections that tend toward each extreme.

Often, designers should strive for the comfort, interest, and habitability of parks and gardens: places that invite visitors to remain, and that are designed to engage and delight them, to invite them to linger, to explore, and to reflect.

Notes on the Path Overall




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