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Outbound Links: Nielsen’s vision is here!

January 15, 2007 Leave a comment

In his 1999 classic book “Designing Web Usability“, Jakob Nielsen writes on marking outbound links from a site:

A second option would be to show a pop-up with additional information about the link.

Nielsen’s outbound link example

In the example image on page 69, I am showing the title of the destination page (retrieved from a proxy server) as well as the name of the remote site (possibly retrieved from a site definition or from the title of the home page). The arrow pointing to the site name can change color depending on whether the user has been to any pages on that site before. As shown by these two simple examples, web browsers have a long way to go with respect to supporting users’ navigation behavior.

Browser vendor’s haven’t yet implemented this feature, but I think Nielsen’s vision is here – and it is called Snap Preview Anywhere (SPA). If you are reading this post on the WordPress website, you might notice that hovering over an outbound link shows a small popup showing a preview (or “snap”) of the linked website. WordPress has enabled it for its hosted blogs – and I think this feature is a tremendous improvement in web user-experience.

Cheers to WordPress folks!

Categories: tech, usability, wordpress