It appears that there are MANY hubbers who would like to see the ability to add a table of contents (TOC) to their longer hubs.
There is currently an active discussion on the matter here: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/113669
However, the instructions are rather cumbersome, and for those of us who are not "techies," a bit confusing, which translates to difficult to implement.
It would be so much better/easier if one of your gifted programmers could create the ability to
automatically create a TOC .
As I see it, it would be a capsule option: Select a capsule type for TOC, then, when it is placed, it should automatically populate with all the headings for the text capsules within that article.
I'd have no clue how to do this, but I have no doubt you have people on staff for whom this would be a walk in the park.
That type of capsule is available on at least one of the other writing sites that I'm familiar with. It pre-populates with all the text capsules, but it gives you the option to de-select some of them if you don't want them included in the table of contents. If HP were to add a TOC capsule, it should be flexible like that.
I don't know that this would be useful to a lot of people, though I know some Hubbers out there that would find this useful. I want to do another series of Hubs (haven't narrowed down a topic), though. I would put a link to the next hub in the series at the bottom of the one before it, but I don't see how a table of contents would be useful. I'm not writing novels here...
You don't have to write "novels" for a TOC to be helpful. Many readers today have the attention span of a gnat, and will leave if they just see a long article; yet, with a goal of 1200 to 2000 words for 'best article length' with the latest HP standards, that's too long for many who would be your target audience.
People just want to skim, and read just parts that catch their interest. Would it not be better to have those sub-headings right up front, so they can jump to the part they want to read, and at least spend some time reading your article, than just scrolling quickly, and thinking, "Oh, this is too long," and leaving the page?
Since many hubbers write educational pieces, I think that a TOC capsule would cut down the bounce rate significantly, and it would be useful to many. And that would be a good thing for your traffic and income.
I agree and think this would be a fantastic feature for longer hubs. People definitely will click away - or sometimes even leave comments and tell you it should have been more than one hub I've had that happen twice!
I agree too, and want to add my request for a TOC!
A TOC works better for longer hubs....maybe over 2,000 words. I just created a TOC using page source for a 2,000 word hub. I like the idea and have requested it before. A TOC capsule would make it easier to group subheadings within a hub.
Squidoo has this option and for a lot of hubs it would work really well. It lets the reader know right away what information they will find on the page.
TOC can help even with short topic like "10 thinks that may go wrong with your filter and how to fix it"
The reader can then jump right to the problem they are having.
Yeah, a TOC could be helpful with longer hubs. DzyMsLizzy, you're funny: "the attention span of a gnat"! LOL. You are so right. Wizzley has a table of contents for its posts, I think. . It's probably not hard to create for someone who knows about that kind of stuff.
Darkside wrote this tutorial on creating a TOC four years ago:
The first paragraph is priceless:
I'll probably write this and then the powers-that-be will create a Capsule to do in a few seconds what may take a while to create.
I guess he never predicted that four years later his work would still be relevant.
Yes, a sortable index or contents at the top of hubs- like on Wikipedia- would be great!
For the folks that have been around a while, we once had the feature. It was very little used if I remember correctly, but I do see how they can be useful. I think we will have to adjust some UI in the Hub if we bring them back. Have you seen how SBNation does their story stream feature. I like that UI for linking capsules together in a TC (their feature is more about updates to stories and on multiple pages).
I tend to write fairly long hubs, and a TOC capsule would be useful to me. I did create my own TOC, using Darkside's method, for one of my postage stamps hubs. I think it's a very effective device for organizing the content. Apparently HP doesn't agree with me, because it's giving me a "style tip" that I shouldn't use links grouped together. I always give consideration to HP's style tips and try to follow them, but not in this case, as I think that removing the TOC links would be detrimental to the readability of the hub.
(There's also a style tip on that hub telling me that I shouldn't use graphic dividers, but again, I'm ignoring that one, at least for now. I agree that using graphics to add borders to sections is a hack, but I think for some articles, if done right, borders or dividers can improve readability rather than detract from it.)
On many of my gardening hubs this would be helpful. I cover how to plant, how to care for and how to handle diseases. Sometimes a section about different varieties even.
The hubs can get long and if you are only looking for diseases, you could just click on the TOC entry and it would take you right there. Some people don't have the patience to look through the entire hub for what they want and just leave and look elsewhere.
I explained how to create a Table of Contents on this forum thread:
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