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Author Topic: Suppress display of URL in a PDF annotation external link  (Read 3997 times)

jjfro

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Suppress display of URL in a PDF annotation external link
« on: January 19, 2013, 04:51:13 pm »
Is there any way to suppress the display of the URL contained in an external link annotation? I publish a newsletter and have had a few readers complain that links in my PDFs don't work. What they are doing is trying to click on the URL that pops up when you hover over an external link annotation. I can't find any way in the properties of the annotation or the export properties of the PDF to eliminate this. Any ideas?

Thanks.

EKWisner

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Re: Suppress display of URL in a PDF annotation external link
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2013, 09:39:55 am »
I don't know a complete technical fix, but may I suggest a way to 'fix' the user error?
(from years as an instructional illustrator): 

Can you make your links into really obvious buttons?
 (think not just underscores but bubble or box outlines, highlight and shadow (easily done with two boxes, the light one overlapping the dark one and offset)

Then your users will be more likely to recognize what they are trying to click on, instead of chasing the mouseover ghosts.

A few obvious buttons that are the same on every post (like 'Click here for weekly coupons') might also help train readers to recognize the more subtle buttons, or more importantly, to ignore / correctly interpret the destination information. 
But I would still use the same border style around pictures and other objects that are links, whenever possible. 

Captions can be a good place for instructions like 'Click here for ____' but I would still use the box or border to define 'here'.

I found more detail on the Scribus Wiki page on how to format a hyperlink.  Method 2 does suggest removing the border around the linked area.  I think that's a style / visual preference only.  In this case, I would  ignore visual style in favor of being crudely obvious. 

Wiki contributors are likely to be so far beyond this level of user confusion that they have forgotten it exists. 

Method 2 did not show the mouseover text when I looked at it in Acrobat Reader, so it might be an option if that's your only criterion.  But...
WARNING: Method 2's use of Javasript seems to create a worse problem in my opinion.  When I tried to click on the (well hidden) link I'd created with Method 2, it triggered a question about 'trusted content.' (Something along the lines of: the document is trying to send you to ___, do you trust this site? or want to block it? Check here to remember this answer.) 

It appears that using Method 2 could lead my readers to casually block the very site I am trying to send them to.  This might result in permanent 'broken links' from their computer (given the level of sophistication, they would be unlikely to recognize that they had previously blocked the site, or know how to unblock it.) 
  This sort of site blocking hits a nerve for me because of its similarity to active spam-blocking trackers. I suspect a similar error message generated by Gmail may have been responsible for a mysterious reversed transaction that PayPal refused to honor, despite reassurances from both buyer and seller that the electronic goods had been purchased and received in good faith. 
   So I think Method 2 would create worse problems than it solves.  It could create worse confusion for ignorant readers, which could lead to more difficult troubleshooting of their reports of 'broken links.'
  It might also allow those struggling readers - depending on how their browser tracks and reports blocket sites - to negatively impact my SEO rankings or downgrade my favorite resources. All of this seems counter-productive to my purposes in trying to communicate with these good folks.

So I am inclined to prefer the Method 1 even with its little mouseover URLs.
It sounds like your audience includes some folks who are going to appreciate a much more intuitive (blatant) stylistic approach to clickable links.

I'd suggest looking at short Flash game graphics (such as on the 'quick play' section of games.yahoo.com) for really obvious clickable buttons.  They tend to have very obvious introductory buttons, then a tutorial to show you where else you can click to make things happen. I bet you can find templates too.

Yours,
EKW

jjfro

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Re: Suppress display of URL in a PDF annotation external link
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 12:01:29 am »
Thank you, EKW, for the suggestions and the detailed background information.  I don't want any parts of Method 2 either but I think I will do something like you suggest about making the links more obvious.

Jack

 

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