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Optimized Hypertext™

Hypertext is text with links.
Optimized Hypertext™
is a whole different way of thinking and presenting information.

Hypertext is text containing links to other content: text, definitions, images, illustrations, etc. It's what the Internet's World Wide Web was founded on.

Optimized Hypertext™ (OH) is my term for what's missing on the Internet: hypertext taken to the full power of the concept.


What is Optimized Hypertext™?

OH is a body of text broken into hypertext objects: short text blocks each of which conveys a discrete concept or related group of facts. A concise, well-written paragraph with a topic sentence followed by explication or amplification is one kind of hypertext object. An image or diagram with extended caption or annotation is another.

Each hypertext object is on its own page, and has many links in the text and near it to facilitate movement to related concepts or information.

OH is the best way to convey many types of information, including (perhaps especially) the sort found in traditional travel guidebooks.


OH vs Linear Text
Unlike traditional linear text, in which a succession of happenings or concepts are arranged by the writer into a narrative, OH allows the reader to explore a body of information according to the reader's own needs and interests.

Linear text is by definition a teaching exercise, or story-telling. Articles are linear text, and articles (rightly nicknamed 'stories') are composed by the writer to have a beginning ('intro' or 'hook'), a middle and a conclusion, perhaps even a crisis and dénouement. An article is a self-contained lesson or time-based narrative.

Linear text is like a video, with the writer as director: you can rewind and fast forward, but it really was meant to be started at the beginning and watched straight through to the end. There is a sense of compelled momentum.

Optimized Hypertext is like a drawerful of snapshots in little piles which the reader can pick up, thumb through, put down or pore over as s/he pleases. The reader sets the momentum fast or slow, and the order, according to personal preference.

How OH Looks
OH
is concise. Every word is important. It is pleasant to read, but eschews "color words" and emphatic adjectives in favor of words that convey information and meaning.

OH is designed for skimming, with emphasis (boldface, change in color, etc.) to facilitate both skimming and retention. Paragraphs on an OH page are short, often one sentence, rarely more than three. Sub-heads help the reader skim.

The World Wide Web and its search engines favor Optimized Hypertext. Writers who seek success on the Internet should do the same.


Linear Text: What It Is & Why It's Not Right for the Web

Linear Text vs Optimized Hypertext™

How to Write Optimized Hypertext™

What Makes a Good Web Page?

What Makes a Good Website?

Links: Inbound & Outbound

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Tom Brosnahan