Creating Hyperlinks

Create meaningful hyperlinks

  • Links that don't behave as expected undermine users' understanding of the system.

    Jakob Nielsen
    Links should explicitly describe what users can expect to find when they click on the link.
  • Short, concise link titles are best. Links should not exceed 30 characters.
  • Avoid using "click here" or "learn more." Visually impaired visitors often use auditory browsers, which will read the text aloud rather than display it visually so the link should be meaningful when read out of context.
  • Do not use URLs (Web addresses) as link text.

Information you might use to create a link title:

  • The name of the site the link leads to (if different from the current site).
  • Details about the information on the destination page and how it relates to the context of the current page.
  • A specific action, such as "Student Email Login"

Internal and external links

  • An internal link is any Web page one the Seminole State website that exists in the CMS. Links to internal pages should always be created starting with the first character after .edu in the address. For example, if you are going to the human resources website at seminolestate.edu/hr/, the link would be /hr/.
  • An external link is any web page that exists outside of the Seminole State website. Links to external pages are linked via the full URL (Web address).
  • Open Web pages in the same browser window. We tend to think external pages should open in a new browser window to keep users from leaving the site, but users often don't notice that a new window has opened, likely in a new tab, depending on the browser. Since users rely on their Back button, they are confused when it appears greyed out, so they close the browser entirely. For this reason, open web pages in same browser window.

PDFs and non-web documents – open in a new window

  • Users are easily confused when websites link them to non-web documents that offer a significantly different user experience than that of standard web pages.
  • In usability findings, when people are finished viewing PDF files or other non-web documents, they clicked the window's close box instead of the Back button. If the document wasn't launched in a new window, they have left the site completely.

Guidelines for linking to non-web documents

  • Open non-web documents in a new browser window.
  • File names should be
    • under 20 characters
    • all lower-case
    • without any blank spaces
  • When using multiple words in an file name, separate them using hyphens

Avoid anchor links down a page

Stay away from within-page linking (anchor tags) as it causes confusion. Users expect a link to take them to a new page and not a new location within the current page. Again, users like to feel as though they are in control of their online browsing.

Email links

Email addresses should be spelled out and hyperlinked. Clicking a link and seeing a mail client open instead of a new tab is not expected by the user and can be a frustrating experience. The CMS will automatically add the email icon to the end of the address.

For example:  WebSupport@SeminoleState.edu

Contact

Seminole State WebSupport
websupport@seminolestate.edu