21 August 2008

BBC Trials In-Page Links

As part of a new trial, the BBC is including links within the context of its online news stories.

The broadcaster’s web articles usually have a selection of links to external sites in the right-hand sidebar but as a rule it does not incorporate links within the body of text itself.

Steve Herrmann explains on The Editors blog that “we haven’t embedded links throughout the text, except for example when listing web sources or in diary-type pages, and of course we do it in our blogs.

“One of the reasons is we don’t want to interrupt a news story by sending the reader off the page in the middle of a sentence.”

Herrmann says the BBC is looking to enhance users’ experience on the site and notes that the linking experiment is a “way of testing whether we can make background content quicker and easier to add, find and access, without getting in the way of those readers who don't want to be distracted by it”.

BBC journalists are creating their links using Apture software, which opens up a small window on the story page.

Stories such as this one on the Nasa Moonship have the in-page link option and the links provide background details from sources such as Nasa and Wikipedia as well as video footage from YouTube.

Further details on this story can be found at Journalism.co.uk.

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