Concepts for Improved Visualization of Web Link Attributes

Harald Weinreich, Winfried Lamersdorf


This paper discusses methods to generate and display automatically additional hyperlink information to the users of the World Wide Web. Current Web browsers make it hard to predict what will happen if a link is being followed: users get different information than they expect, a new window may be opened, a download starts, or the destination object is just not available. Instead of giving an appropriate notification in advance, users have to follow a link, check whether the document contains the expected information, get back, try another link etc. However, usually it is possible to obtain additional hyperlink information from several sources like link anchor tags, the user's history and web servers. Furthermore, with little enhancements, Web servers may include even more additional information to the hyperlinks in Web documents. These can be displayed before users select a link to improve navigation and reduce the cognitive overhead. In this paper several types of Web hyperlink information are listed, potential methods to present these facts are compared, the prototype implementation of the proposed concept — called by us HyperScout — is presented, and further developments are discussed.


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