Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

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.