Making a Multimedia Website

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Fact file4.1 Hyperlinks

Before the World Wide Web, there was something called Hypertext. This was invented in the mid 1960s as a way of linking computer files together. For example a document about the composer Tchaikovsky may contain a phrase such as “1812 Overture”, which when selected would open another document about that piece of music, or even play the overture itself.

These hypertext (or hypermedia) systems would run from a database, the most famous example being Apple’s Hypercard software. This was similar in operation to making a non-linear presentation in Microsoft® PowerPoint – using buttons on each page to move to other pages or to play sounds. Its limitation was that all the pages and files had to be held locally on the computer that was being used.

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With the invention of the World Wide Web, the hyperlink became something much more useful. Rather than being limited to local files, pages of information held on one computer could be linked to another page on a computer on the other side of the world by using the internet to connect the computers. Without hyperlinks, there would be no World Wide Web.

By default a hyperlink will open the new page in the same browser window that is currently open. But it is possible to set up links that will open the linked page in a new window. This is useful if you want to direct a visitor to a page outside your website to view related content without leaving your site completely.

Text links

The most common hyperlink is the text link. Any piece of text can be turned into a hyperlink to another section within the same page, to another page within the same website or to an external webpage or file. Usually a hyperlink will appear as blue underlined text, but this can be changed by redefining the text style. Websites such as Wikipedia are full of text hyperlinks:

an example of a wikipedia text

Even if a website uses buttons in a graphical navigation bar as the main way of navigating the site, it is considered good practice to include a text-based navigation bar somewhere on the page too, usually at the bottom, to give access to the most important links.

Email linkEmail us

Another type of hyperlink is the email link which allows a visitor to send an email to a given address via their default email client. It is good practice to include an email hyperlink at the foot of every page in a website to allow visitors to contact the site owner and/or the web designer directly.

Websites such as Flickr ( use hyperlinks at the bottom of every page to give the visitor easy access to important features such as a sitemap, contact details and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Bottom of the Flickr page


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