(writ 210) temp site
Lesson 9 Navigation – Hypertext Structure
Exercise for Week 9
Write a hypertext essay on hypertext navigation and illustrate it with hypertext examples of the problems and benefits of the various possibilities of hypertext navigation.
Remember to keep in mind two kinds of structure: the Labyrinth (unicursal, a single path winding towards a centre; and the Maze (multicursal, a series of critical choices (bivia). There are varieties of linearity and choice that allow visitors to participate in the writing.
Do you want a
maze to get lost in or a labyrinth?
J. Yellowlees Douglas
‘How Do I stop this thing’ in Landow ed Hyper/Text/Theory, Johns Hopkins U, 1994.- Examines reader's need
for closure which requires a facility with hypertext navigation.
In his view, a
minimum of information should be included in each page for maximum
scanability. Information the reader needs should be buried behind links.
While this method works well for material written directly for the net,
it causes problems when adopting printed material. Recall that his
annotation of one paragraph of Finnegans Wake was over 70K.
Nevertheless, Barger identifies many structural considerations in the
creating of hypertexts.
The term ‘hypertext’ is often used to refer not to the language underpinning the html page but simply the ability to link from one portion of text to another. Images can, of course, also be hot-linked. Linking is but one option in an array of possible web conventions we'll soon discuss. Linking can give one a sense of inclusiveness, an opening up of a subject into a multifaceted perspective. On the other hand, linking can also dissipate internal energy and diminish drama. It is important to weigh these considerations when creating your work.
Some theorists have suggested analogies to describe what happens with hypertext. Tree fiction, branching and rhizome are terms often used. I prefer to think of the page as more spatially dynamic. Trees grow but they are fairly static! For me, something wave-like and oceanic would be a better metaphor.
The web is a readerly medium but also highly visual. Text and image work together (as we explored last week).