Revision [9180]

This is an old revision of TheLastFinalDRS made by DestinySherman on 2018-05-02 07:48:30.


The Last Final

Hypertext can be a very useful tool for online readers. It can help avoid drowning readers in large passages of text and hook interested readers to visit different sections. While there is an overall order to the text, it can read much like a choose-your-path story. Hypertext has the ability to allow readers to read the content out of order and usually still understand the subject matter. Of course, such a text format can be both useful and frustrating at once.

If one is making an argument via hypertext, it requires the dedication from the reader to go through all of the connected articles to understand the full scope of the argument. Most readers want to see the full text and this can prove tedious without a means to mark the paths you've taken, causing the reader to grow disoriented and lost. Some hypertexts make use of highlighting the hyperlinks you've visited in the conclusion to make it easy to go back and read what you may have missed during your first trip through. Others keep a running list of the text's hyperlinks visible on the sidebar at all times for the reader to refer to. These can make it easier to keep readers interested and reduce the anxiety built up in some readers at the prospect of missing key information during the process of clicking and then back spacing over and over between pages. Of course, this can also spoil the surprise for the contents of pages not clicked yet.

The best way to keep a reader reading is by ensuring that crucial points to your argument are visited no matter what is clicked. Making a map of your main points and how they connect can help. If key components to your argument are missed, the argument falls apart and you have readers getting lost.

Hypertext works much like a garden path. You have the freedom to go where you like, but you also run the risk of getting lost. A map can help but you don't always get one. You'll probably miss landmarks or interesting views the first time through. It may take several trips over the course of many days to get through it all. Some may not bother to complete the full journey at all, too frustrated. This is the risk hypertext takes with its format.

This can be even more difficult if the writer overuses hypertext, sometimes linking to information that only leads the reader to a dead end irrelevant to the argument at hand. Too many links on a page may distract the reader, who already has to slow their reading to attend to the other linked materials. Try to minimize the number of links on a page to avoid getting your reader lost in an overlapping tangle of paths. Disorienting and confusing the reader can quickly drive some away before long.
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