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Re: External Link Icons

for

From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Sep 28, 2007 3:10AM


Rich Pedley wrote:

>> The crucial question is: Does it benefit the users, or the purpose
>> of a site, to indicate "external" links as external, for some
>> definition of "external"? The correct answer is: almost never.
>
> I'd have to disagree, but then surely your 'correct answer' is just in
> your opinion?

I don't see the point in your use of the word "but"; surely if you disagree,
you do not accept the correct answer I gave.

> As usual I don't think there have been extensive studies on the
> subject, but there occasions when highlighting external links is
> perhaps a good idea.

The burden of proof lays on them who say that "highlighting" (an interesting
change of word!) is a good idea. It would be something that deviates from
normal presentation of content, so it needs justification.

> Links in the middle of a sentence, where the user
> expects to stay on the same site, could be dis-orientating to some.

Why would the user expect that? If you ask me, _my_ expectation is that such
a link refers to a page outside the site probably than links appearing in
menus, link lists, or at the end of a paragraph. If I think otherwise for a
particular link, it's because of its textual context and content (like "our
price list").

Links in the middle of a sentence are bad practice anyway, in _most_ cases.
They might be justifiable as links to extra information that is irrelevant
to most visitors, comparable to footnote references. And in such cases, it
does not matter whether it's "on the same site" (which is an author-centric
concept).

Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/