I had a very useful conversation with Shane Gibson yesterday about how to incorporate glossary entries into a blog post and whether the user should manually do this or if the system should do it or something in-between.
I designed an interaction based on this https://jrnl.global/2019/04/12/jrnl-wordpress-plugin/ but this morning I realised something quite different: Doug Engelbart talked about explicit links (what we might call hyperlinks) and implicit links (such as a link from a word to its entry in a glossary).
This made me realise that when an author makes a link, whether to an external site, another blog post or to a glossary term, this is an explicit link, no matter how we twist and overthink it.
When the reader does not follow an explicit link but would like further information about some text, the user is following an implicit link, as Liquid | Flow and many built in services provides, through its many search and reference facilities.
Looking text up in the glossary is but one of these implicit links–a glossary entry is special, but only one type of implicit link
Therefore I think the WordPress or Browser Plugin should do the following: On selecting any text and clicking on the blue dot (which is installed on this blog now, please select text to see it and perform basic searches), a list of all occurrences of that text on the site should show up in a list, with the list being broken down into three parts:
- Glossary Term. Results where the selected text matches the text ‘subject’ of any post which are in the category is [Glossary Term]
- Related Glossary Term. Results where the selected text matches the any ‘subject’ or ‘body’ of any post which are in the category is [Glossary Term]
- All Blog Posts. Results of any post in any category, in the ‘subject’ or ‘body.
On mouse-over any of those results the system will show the first paragraph of the content of that page (and since it’s a known layout, being within the same WordPress system, this would be easy to ascertain) which can be clicked on to open in a new tab or clicked outside of to dismiss or simply mouse-away.
What we are looking to develop then is simply a reader-side plugin to very quickly populate a search results based on selected text and a mouse-over of the first paragraph of text found.
This makes the glossary useful, but not an essential new part; the essential part is navigating around the blog to better understand the contents.
Here the user has selected the text ‘link’ and a blue dot appears:
When the user points to/mouse-overs the dot a menu appears with search results of the site based on the selected text ‘link’, showing first any occurrence which matches the subject to any post in the [Glossary Term] Category, followed by a divider line, then any matches in the body text of any post in the [Glossary Term] Category and finally any other occurrences in any blog post:
Whenever the user points to/mouse overs any of the search results the system opens a sub-menu with the first paragraph or so of text from that post. The user can mouse away to dismiss, click on the paragraph text to open that post or click on any link visible to go directly to that link, all in new tabs: