A System for Classifying Links

It's obvious that links can be used for different purposes, such as providing more information about a subject or taking you to an online shopping cart.

But did you ever think that they could be classified into categories based on their function? In Hypertext Links: Whither Thou Goest, and Why, Claire Harrison takes on this task.

I have to admit that the article is pretty lenghty, so if you're like me and want to cut to the chase, skip to the table of link classes and its supporting explanations.

Claire has come up with 7 types of link:

  1. Authorizing – Describes an organization's legal, formal policies, contact information, etc. that authenticate the site and its content.
  2. Commenting – Provides opinion about the site and/or its content.
  3. Enhancing – Provides more factual information about site content by offering greater detail.
  4. Exemplifying – Provides a specific example of content within a broader category.
  5. Mode-Changing – Moves users from the reading mode to one that requires a different kind of activity.
  6. Referencing/Citing – Provides information that "informs" or supplements the site's content.
  7. Self-Selecting – Allows users to narrow a search by making choices based on their age, sex, geographical location, life situation, personal interests, and so on.

This is the only article on this subject that I've ever come across, so it's worth making a note of for this reason alone.

I'm not sure if there's any obvious practical application for this knowledge, but it's an interesting concept and the categories make sense to me. Any ideas?

If nothing else, you might be able to throw in a few of these terms into a job interview or a client meeting to increase your brainiac factor…

Well, Mr. Client, as far as your product pages are concerned, I would recommend using a more even ratio of enhancing to mode-changing links. You would do well to support these through the addition of some referencing links also.

What do you think – would I get the gig?

Posted on: July 10, 2006 | No comments

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