Mikel Maron: Reactive Links

A superb idea today from Yahoo! alumnus Mikel Maron:

Reactive Links. Anytime someone click-thrus on these redirect links, the service records that action… more active links could be big and red and quiet links could small and blue, or whatever you like. These links change their character depending on their usage. [Brain Off]

It reminds me of a little bit of internal visualization our data mining group did where a modified version of the Yahoo! homepage showed a click-percentage count next to each hyperlink on the page. You could pretty easily see that people were always interested in clicking on certain elements on the page (such as the word “Free”) and that you could also induce users to try different Yahoo! services by occasionally highlighting one of them (by displaying them in bold or with a background color).

Changing the size of the links is another interesting visualization technique, but it can throw off the page layout so much that it becomes distracting and less helpful.

2 thoughts on “Mikel Maron: Reactive Links”

  1. hi Michael

    The actual presentation of links (size, color, backround-color, images, etc) would be left totally to the user — by their css style sheet.

    Didn’t know the datamining group used this technique — cool — still trying to bring yahoo power to the masses.

    Turns out, PURL is open source, so it may not be so difficult to implement.

    Mikel

  2. Wouldn’t that be a bit self fulfilling? Folks love crowds, the more people in one, the more show up. If you have something highlighted as being popular, others will click on it just to see why.

    I guess I’d prefer having some sort of day delay to see what really is popular (or limit the number of folks that see the result) rather than continually highlight the nakid chix.

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