Here’s a very cool blogging tool that fixes a hole in providing supplementary information or footnotes without the user either having to jump to the bottom of the post, to another page, or having a pop-up box obscure what they’re reading (the latter is particularly annoying because it’s been hijacked by interstitial ads like IntelliTXT. These masquerade as links but are in fact irrelevant ads tagged to certain keywords. Anyway, here’s the idea: post it notes on the side of a page that are linked, via color to highlighted text. Like this:
As you can see, the highlighted text is clearly linked to the box above it, allowing the reader to glean more information without interrupting the flow of the read. The idea comes from arc90, a New York-based technology and strategic consulting firm, which explains it thus:
It’s a dead simple way to include color-coded sidenotes in your blog or web page. What are sidenotes you ask? They’re like footnotes, except cooler. They’re color-coded against highlighted text and sit alongside the main body of text rather than at the bottom.
It’s pretty easy to install, apparently, so much so I might even do it myself. I’ve long felt that linking in blogs (and other web pages for that matter) needed an extra tool which would help add context and the extra information that might otherwise put in footnotes, but not either irritate the user with popups or have them leave your page to get the information. Links are good, but they’re not always the answer. Maybe unobtrusive sidenotes are.