What’s with footnotes on web pages? Footnotes to references used to be a compact way to point off to other resources without unduly interrupting the flow of the text. On a printed page, it was a good solution. But now we have better technology.
A footnote is essentially a link to a link. Why make two hops? And if you are going to, at least make the links actual links. In the Paul Otget article I just pointed to, there are footnotes, which are not clickable, and refer to a numbered list at the end of the paper. That list references paper resource, and so are not links, and so can be forgiven for appearing collected at the end.
Here’s a article about web services: Achieving Loose Coupling. In it are footnotes which are links to a list at the end. The list is itself composed of clickable URLs. Why do this? Make the footnotes themselves links to the URLs. I click the footnotes to open them in new windows, then go look in the other window, and don’t see what I expect.
If you want to collect the URLs at the end for some sort of overview of outward links, fine. Do that, and label it as such, but don’t make me take two hops to get to the reference.
Worse yet: Here’s a short piece about describing XML data. It’s about web technologies, published online by a technical publication. It has footnotes, which are not clickable, each of which at the bottom of the page lists a URL, which is itself not clickable. Can someone get a clue?