July 9, 2007

Hit-a-Hint for fast keyboard-driven Web surfing

Author: Vaida Bogdan

Hit-a-Hint (HaH) is a Firefox plugin that aims to create a faster Web surfing experience by letting you use the keyboard to click links.

HaH assigns numbers to links on a page. If you want to visit a linked site, enter HaH-mode either by holding down the spacebar or pressing H to enable it and Enter to disable it. HaH-mode displays numbers near all the links on the page; you can press the number that corresponds to the desired link to go to the linked page.

To install HaH, just go to its Firefox Add-Ons link and click the install button. To configure it, go to Tools -> Add-ons -> Hit-a-Hint -> Preferences. Among the preferences you can set are whether to use numbers or letters for links; if you don't have a number pad (on a laptop, for example) and you want a quick way to access the links, you can use "asdfqwer" as characters for browsing.

Holding down Shift while pressing the number for the link opens the link in a new browser window; holding Ctrl opens it in a new tab.

To see HaH in action, search "cute puppy" on Google images, and instead of moving your mouse to the fourth picture on the third row, hold down the spacebar and type the number next to the picture. This will send you directly to the desired link in a fast and efficient way. You can also try HaH on one of The Worst Of The Web sites, or just about any site with a lot of links.

If you want to change HaH's keybindings -- for example if you want to use a different key for the spacebar behaviour -- you can install the Firefox Keyconfig extension, which will let you to change default keybindings for Firefox and some of its plugins.

If you like HaH, you might also want to try the Surfkeys extension, which lets you surf using ALT and the "jklihynp" keys to scroll, move back and forward, and go to next and previous in a search result.

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