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Ending the Tyranny of the Button
Spring 1994 (vol. 1 no. 1)
pp. 60-68

In his keynote address to the Hypertext 91 conference, Frank Halasz described "ending the tyranny of the link" as a major issue facing the hypermedia research community at that time. The greatest problem is not that users always focus on buttons because they know a button indicates a link or connection of some kind. Just the opposite, users expect buttons in hypermedia systems, so if no buttons are indicated, they assume there are no links. The new, open hypermedia systems readily permit the dynamic generation of links and the application of links to standard desktop computing packages not under the hypermedia system's control. In such scenarios, buttons rapidly become less and less necessary, or useful, as a means of indicating a link. Indeed, since a button's main purpose in a hypermedia system is to indicate the presence of links, buttons should become redundant as we move toward systems where links themselves are virtual entities. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen whilst hypermedia authors and users have such a fixation on buttons. The author explores why the button so dominates today's hypermedia systems and why this must change.

Citation:
Wendy Hall, "Ending the Tyranny of the Button," IEEE Multimedia, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 60-68, Spring 1994, doi:10.1109/93.295269
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