Focus mode

21 November 2014

I'm currently reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. It's been enjoyable so far, even if it's mostly nostalgia for the physical book as a medium. I'll reserve judgement on the text as a whole until I've finished it, but I wanted to make a small digression first (which you might consider ironic after reading the book).

One point that resonated with me regarded the cognitive load of hyperlinks. Rather than simply annotating text to add meaning, links can distract us from digesting the information. Anyone who's lost themselves in a Wikipedia rabbit-hole will probably find that familiar. In web development we're constantly fussing over the call to action or otherwise encouraging interactivity. So, for a bit of fun, I've thrown together a tiny bookmarklet to remove all links on a document and replace them with text. Who knows, perhaps it'll help you get through that extra long blog post you've only been scanning up until now. So, without further ado, I present that last link you'll ever click (on this page):

What's more, it fits into a tweet, too. If you like it, drag it up to your bookmarks bar and use it as a bookmarklet on other sites. Though, if you've just clicked it you might have to reload the page first! Oh, and well done, you've just successfully avoided the gauntlet of links on this post (or at least came back afterwards).

Edit Jun 2021: Previously, this page was peppered with links to illustrate my point, but my new markup system does not allow inline links by design. I suppose I absorbed this lesson!