W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > wai-wcag-editor@w3.org > July to September 1999

Re: in-your-face URLs: please don't.

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 11:48:04 -0500
Message-ID: <37B2FAC4.4733749C@w3.org>
To: Dan Bricklin <DanB@trellix.com>
CC: "comments@gooddocuments.com" <comments@gooddocuments.com>, "gerald@w3.org" <gerald@w3.org>, "timbl@w3.org" <timbl@w3.org>, "wai-wcag-editor@w3.org" <wai-wcag-editor@w3.org>
Dan Bricklin wrote:
> Dan,
> Sorry if you didn't like that usage. I use it once in a while when I'm
> referring off-site and I want to encourage you to bookmark it, or have it
> on a printout. You're right, it is not the form I should normally use, and
> hopefully don't -- the text comes from some earlier material, not all of
> which was on the web (much as you used a URL in your email -- I tried to
> make it flow in the reading of the text).

OK. I like a lot of things about the website, and I especially
like the idea that folks should be able to use simple tools
like trellix appears to be (I'm gonna have to try it out) to
create their own web sites.

	"An HTML editor was supposed to be like a really
	primitive word processor with one killer feature:
	hypertext links. No propellor on the head necessary."
	-- Dan Connolly, May 1997 issue of WebApps

So I hope a lot of people read it, but I don't want them to
pick up this particular idiom.

Sorry I neglected to mention any of the things I liked about
the site. VERY bad habit of mine.

> Trellix does not do anything special for that construct -- it was purely my
> typing.

That makes me feel better. I'm seeing product blurbs for
tools that recognize www.foo.com when you type and add a link,
encouraging you to do that.

> On most of my recent stuff I only use URLs explicitly in text in
> lists of site names where you might want to print them out.

Sigh... would that the tools that print web pages would do this
for you. The idea has been around for a while:

	"Hard-Copy Print Options to Show Addresses of Objects and
	Address Specification of Links"
	-- http://www.bootstrap.org/augment-132082.htm#11L
	Engelbart, June 1990

> Also, remember
> that URLs have some meaning to people and, whether we like it or not, we do
> understand and attach meanig to them as people sometimes having read many
> of them. As I point out in
> http://www.gooddocuments.com/techniques/goodlinks.htm sometimes a URL like
> "www.acmeco.com" can be better than "company homepage" in text.

Yes... but I suspect the .com fad will fade in a few years.
I prefer to see
	the _Acme Company Home Page_

> I don't
> encourage the practice normally, but for home pages they may be OK if it
> fits with the writing. Do you agree?

I would agree, except that from a casual browse of your web
site(s), you *do* seem encourage the practice, even if you
don't mean to.

> What Trellix does help is making maps like the one I used on the LCS 35th
> anniversary ( http://www.bricklin.com/albums/lcs35/ ) and keeping track of
> the lists of related pages and automatically providing lists of links with
> updated title.

Aha! I think the burden of keeping the titles up to date is
one thing that motivates people to use the url-in-your-face-idiom.
So this feature of trellix wins a gold star.

> Hope you like the rest of the site.

My measure of a web site is how long I stay interested. After
I found your web site, it was a good hour or two before I stopped
digging around. Most sites rate less than a minute. So yes, I like it.

I was *almost* interested enough to spend the half hour or so
it would take to download a copy of trellix. But I think I'll
buy the CD instead, eventually.

Dan Connolly, W3C
Received on Thursday, 12 August 1999 12:48:05 UTC

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