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Re: plain text has its points

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 11:26:05 -0500 (EST)
To: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.04.9812071119440.4346-100000@tux.w3.org>
OK. I should have put more context in - the problem is when the
information about what happens is outside the link - eg

for more information <a href="some.thing">click here</A>

because it means a useful view of the document does not work properly, and
thus the extra potential offered has been somewhat unfulfilled.

To get airy-fairy I suspect we will discover that <A
HREF="some.thing">Click here to learn about things</A> stops being a
well-written link at about the time that voice-activated browsers
become popular. Not that it is really critical - the term becomes a bad
one but the usage will still be prefectly comprehensible, as Al points

Charles McCathieNevile

On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, Al Gilman wrote:

> to follow up on what Charles McCathieNevile said:
> > There is a guideline about this in the PAGL document. The basic
> > idea is that hypertext can extend text. That extension should
> > not be used to cover for a flawed text - 'click here' is an
> > example of the sloppy way in which hypertext can be misused.
> I am afraid you have the cart before the horse, there.
> Language usage, and what constitutes "good usage" is determined
> by an equilibrium of "whatever works."  It is not layered on past
> good usage.
> "Click here" is good hypertext usage.  Hypertext links are not
> meant to be read in isolation.  As an accomodation to people who
> skim by reading just the sensitive text, because this happens to
> work with legacy adaptive technology, we have an rule that says
> "don't say that."
> This is not because it's bad hypertext usage.  The string "click
> here" may be the single most common value of a link content on
> the web today.  It wouldn't be that popular if it didn't fill a
> need.  If one is not that blunt, the number of people who don't
> understand what to do to follow the link becomes appreciable.  I
> have seen this on pages where I try to be artful and people just
> don't get the point.
> "Click here" is artless hypertext, but it fits Cranmer's
> requirement of "language understanded of the people."  It's gonna
> win.  We need to face that.
> Yes, we should issue a temporary restraining order against it;
> but yes, it should be _temporary_.  This injunction is not a real
> solution.
> Al
Received on Monday, 7 December 1998 11:26:07 UTC

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