Intranet scent: best links are 7-12 words


2 thoughts on “Intranet scent: best links are 7-12 words”

  1. I agree with much of this, particularly the idea of “scent” – that the links provide context. I'd take it a step further, and say “If you take the link to of context, do you still know what you're linking to?” I must fight the urge to find and strangle a webmaster when I see links titled “click here.” Really? Is that what you do to links? Do you also have a marquee at the top of every page that says “Breathe in….. breathe out….” over and over?
    I always, always title links to reflect the page's title I'm linking to – its a rule on our intranet, rarely broke. As titles show up in our search engine, a well-formed title is absolutely essential to users finding the content they are looking for.
    As for turning the site map into the homepage – I think Toby's gone a little crazy. Speaking for myself, managing an intranet for about 30,000 user – if I took down the news and featured info, blood would probably flow. There is simply no substitute for front-page content. I suppose though, this is a philosophical difference. Our intranet is a communications tool – a site map for the homepage would be appropriate for a site seen from the “information repository” point of view.
    As for page length – I don't see the big deal, really. I keep a page to about 10 paragraphs long. Any less, and it seems incomplete, and any more overwhelms the user with information. The web is not print, and it is difficult to keep your place on a mile-long page. There should be three places on a page “near the top”, “near the bottom”, and “in the middle.” If you describe where a paragraph is as “about 1/5th of the way down the page” — your page is far too long.

  2. Great comments; excellent feedback and insight. By the way, though, I'm not at all recommending anyone turn their site map into the home page… that was one of Jared Spool's suggestion or thoughts… I merely am conveying it. I don't however agree with that nor his sentiment that its good to have a home page that is 10 pages long. Please tell me one person, just one that actually goes and reads the full home page. In fact, I would guess, that 90% of visitors to Amazon use the search engine, or are following a link from a promo newsletter, colleague or friend to a very particular item. Now, having lots of relevant footer links… that's an entirely different option which I strongly support (we till you see our new website design).

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