The Electronic Labyrinth

Anchor Appearance

Anchors may be distinguished from surrounding text by several means. Assume the body text is black Helvetica. The following list shows different methods of indicating an anchor paired with examples of each.

All of these have disadvantages. The first four methods are not useful for indicating overlapping anchors. The first two cannot indicate a link from an image. Systems (such as Guide) which use style or typeface to indicate anchors overload signs which already have typographic significance; this is also undesirable.

In some systems, anchors do not appear distinct from surrounding information, unless an action is taken. Possible actions include:

If there are few anchors, it may be preferable to display them at all times. This alleviates distracting mode switches or "hunt and peck" searches for hidden anchors. If anchor density is high, their distinctive appearance may overwhelm the "normal" text. A toggle might then be welcome.

Hyperfictions use these different methods to create distinctive reading environments. In many cases, such as Michael Joyce's Afternoon, a story, the anchor appearance is part of the conceptual and structural underpinnings of the narrative.

© 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.
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