The NY Times Experiments with Link Previews to Help Guide Readers
From Times Open:
The New York Times publishes around 160 articles per day, many of which have several links embedded within the text. While these links are a way for readers to gain background information, explore unique threads of Times content and view sources, they can often distract readers from finishing the story.
[Clip]In August, we launched an experiment that displays hover-over previews for links to The New York Times articles. By providing a new line of interactivity, we hope readers can use links as tools to better discover and contextualize articles.
How Users Click on Links
Current user interaction with links can be boiled down to one of the following paths:
- Opened into a new tab for reading later
- Clicked on and routed to another article, with a chance of returning to the original article
- Ignored due to a lack of immediate access or disinterest
Imagining a Better Experience: Inline Link Previews
Easily accessible previews help readers who want more context about inline content but do not want to stop reading the current article. At the same time, they can assist readers who want to discover articles with more in-depth information.
These were the most essential functions we built into the preview tool:
- A display that includes key aspects of the article such as its headline, lede image and publish date.
- A subtle delay for users who are simply moving their mouse around the page.
- Dynamically displaying the preview above or below the link to keep it within the reader’s window.
We hoped that by giving users the flexibility to interact with links in a more streamlined and organized manner, they could enjoy a more cohesive reading experience with The New York Times.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.