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Re: WANTED: Design for documentation (Photoshop power users!)

From: Robin Bannister
Subject: Re: WANTED: Design for documentation (Photoshop power users!)
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 01:45:24 +0200

Patrick McCarty wrote:
I agree with yours and Reinhold's idea to remove underlining and visited link colors in the TOC pane. Should the same apply to the main doc pane?

NAV BAR What I said about TOC scanning doesn't apply here; there is no list. There are probably two main sorts of usages: - very quick, where you are only concerned with the direction to step in. - slowish, where you read some of the names. Within the 2 * 3 grouping there is a semantic synergy e.g. the upper [<< reinforces the lower [< (and vice versa) and symmetry of [< and >] reinforces their opposition. This effect makes selection for stepping easier. But when "visited" colours just the bottom row or just one side, the 2 * 3 is fractured, and you have to look twice. [1] Otherwise it is just mottled and vaguely confusing. Slowish is even slower.

The previous/next section buttons are the best candidates for "visited",
but it is precisely these buttons which will devalue this. See below.

LANG BAR A language link will rarely indicate "visited", and when it does, it is of no import (breadcrumbs unchanged).

FOOTER These are exits, so who cares?


If there were only long text passages containing a few embedded links, then feel free to colour them "visited". But it is mostly not like that: The links tend to be grouped into lists such as
- mini-TOCs
- "References for" - "See also". Some of these lists have only one or two entries. But there is a very wide range: e.g. music-event or grob! I think the longish lists should not be mottled.

CONCLUSION. Most of the above tends towards no "visited" colouring. And repeated consultations devalue "visited" here too. [2] And maybe another effect will be even more important: the navbar makes it so easy to page through the document. This browsing mode will be popular with those - who don't know what key to search for, or - who like navigating by png instead of navigating by title. You stride down the corridor glancing in through the half-open doors. So my answer is yes; apply these changes to the main pane too.


[1] but lt and gt don't have to be coloured too, do they?

[2] a partial workaround: learn spanish, french and german.

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