Friday, September 02, 2011
I love footnotes.
I'm a footnote fiend. As soon as my eye catches a glimpse of that superscript, my heart rate quickens, my eyes refocus, my mind is fueled with a renewed clarity as I dissect the sentences leading to the magic key that will unlock the treasure at the bottom of the page.
Maybe it's because of the occasional anecdotes. Or maybe it's because footnotes tend to appeal to my love for spider webbing; other sources and ideas that tangent to the main idea of the text. Footnotes also offer a personal connection to the author, making it feel more conversational, more human.
I love footnotes... in books.
I hate footnotes on websites. The internet ruined footnotes. The hyperlink jump, the scrolling, it's all jarring to a smooth flow of thought. By the time I get back to the text I am disorientated; the excitement is deflated.
I used to hate foot notes on websites. I found my rescue in the form of a browser extension. Footnotes on websites will never be the same.
It should be said first that I am a man of few browser extensions.
When I was a teenager, Firefox was all the rage. In my youthful naivety I experimented with extensions... fanatically. The allure of customization and new features (for free!) that would revolutionize the internet was overpowering for this teenage geek.
Over time I found that more often than not, "customization" only added clutter, "new features" (that I rarely used) flunked my user experience, and the whole process consumed a lot of time just to manage. Rarely did I find an extension that actually rose above novelty to enhance my online experience.
Instead, the browser became bloated. So for years now, I have kept my browsers on a stricter diet. There must be a very compelling case for me to install an extension.
A simple and elegant solution to footnotes online.
I discovered Footnotify via DaringFireball; an excellent well curated blog on technology, design, and Apple (I ignore the occasional post on baseball).