Does an abundance of visible hyperlinks reduce a document's legibility for you?

So I’m sitting here reading a training memo about – well, that doesn’t matter. It’s a document intended for internal distribution only, written by some person or committee in the training department; the people who work under me must all read for continuing education purposes. The point is that it’s vexing me. There’s an awful lot of hyperlinks in it, all bright blue and underlined, and often on extremely common terms. The name of the company is hyperlinked to lead to our home page, for instance. I won’t link to the doc itself for obvious reasons, but the Wikipedia article on dogs is the kind of thing I mean.

I don’t care for this style of writing. Too-abundant visible hyperlinks reduce the legibility of the piece for me; I find myself involuntarily pausing at each of them, and it makes the reading slower. (I feel the same way about overuse of boldface and italics.) But it occurs to me that this perception may be an artifact of my age – that if I were in my twenties rather than forties I’d be inured to multiple visible hyperlinks in every sentence, perhaps even expect or prefer them. I’d much rather that most links be apparent only on mouseover.

What do y’all think? Do too many visible hyperlinks spoil your reading experience?

No, however, I may sometimes recolor them with a Firefox ad-on to dim them a bit.

Yes. I get distracted by hyperlinks and colors. When I program, I use an editor that doesn’t automatically color my text based on context.

I don’t like reading Wikipedia because of the hyperlinks. I should find a browser add-on that removes them when I click a button or something, so I can make it easier on my eyes.

Yes, annoying. Some websites automatically put ad links in. Like every time Mexico is mentioned, a link will go to a travel website. And some malware does the same for all websites. The first one also sucks because sometimes you think it is a useful link.

Someone I know was TAing a class where someone turned in a copy-and-paste from some website, keeping the formatting and links. :smack:

Huh. Interesting. I find lots of colours or hyperlinks to be very distracting in a text document. But when programming, I fight to keep the syntax colouring, because I find that it speeds my comprehension up.

Why the difference? Not sure. Never actually noticed it before this topic came up.

Yes, hyperlinks do indeed make it more difficult for me to read things - just as you say, my eyes and brain pause at each one, instead of reading quickly and smoothly.

They have no effect on the legibility of the text for me whatsoever. My problem is the “ooh, shiny” issue, i.e., I keep clicking them, with the result that if I start out reading the Wikipedia article about dogs, an hour later I will find myself knee-deep in an absolutely fascinating article about Mongolian folk dancing, having forgotten why I was looking up dogs in the first place.

Not in Wikipedia, where I expect, nay, desire, that format. Ditto TVTropes or the like.

But not in a company memo - there should be no reason to link to more than maybe one or two outside sites. And even there, I’d greatly prefer them in their own “links” section, not the body of the text.

Yes, my same complaint … you hover over link thinking it has something to do with the article only to get an ad :mad:

You have some malware.
Most likely an extension of your browser.

Doesn’t bother me at all.

I have seen sites that embed ad links into text, probably automatically based on keywords. Ones I have seen are typically in green text and double-underlined, to telegraph that they are ad links. No examples at the moment. But if it were malware, it would happen everywhere, not just on a couple of sites.

It doesn’t bother me so long as the pages being linked to are relevant. But stupid links are stupid.

Back when I was maintaining the Fortran Code from Hell, one of the first things I did was convert it to an RTF so I could color-code it. Not syntax, though: I coded things like whether a variable was logarithmic (and in what base) or linear, and used superscripts and subscripts to mark which arguments to a function were used for input or output.

Haiku’d that for you. :o