Author-built threads

In a larger hypertext (with seven or more components), the writer confronts the need to construct threads. Such hypertexts can be considered "thread-dependent" or "deliberately threaded."

Readers experience some strain when they face a list of more than six links to different components — having more choices makes it harder to choose. (Remember the last time you were in a ice cream shop with dozens of flavors?) The chance of error (or disappointment) increases because the differences between items on the list are harder to infer.

If the writer imposes a hierarchy, the material becomes more manageable for the reader. The hierarchy hides or buries certain components that the writer deems less vital. The writer ensures that the reader will choose one of the more important components to begin with if the writer has limited access to a select subset of the total number of components in the hypertext.

(The hypertext you are reading now include[d] [in its original format] a "top page" where only four components [were] available.)

Reader-built threads also occur in such larger hypertexts, because readers still get to choose from several options for where to go next, even if some options are hidden from them in some places.