The Electronic Labyrinth

Difficulties with Reading Hypertext

Reading electronic documents requires learned skills in the same way that reading paper documents does. This process can often be observed in novice word processor users. While becoming used to the appearance of screen fonts and the necessity of reading text one screenful at a time, the user will often print the document for proof-reading. After becoming comfortable with the software and hardware environment, more and more of the layout and revision process is performed without reference to a printout.

The first objection one usually hears when raising the idea of an electronic book is that one can't "curl up with a good computer" the way one can with a paper volume. Recently, with the advent of notebook (and smaller) computers, this complaint has been rendered obsolete for some.

The previous discussion is applicable to any electronic text. Hypertext has several particular problems associated with its nonlinear form:

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