Link Text & Appearance

Clicking links is the main interaction visitors have with websites. Clickable elements need to be obvious and visitors should not have to ponder their meaning.

Clickable text on your page should be relevant to the context and clearly identify the target of the link. Also, duplicate link text should never point to different URL Web addresses.

Example Text

Good:
Find out more about pandas.

Bad:
For more information on pandas, click here.
For more information on ducks, click here.

Remember there are many devices for accessing the Web. Some of them allow the visitor to see or hear a list of the links on a page or use the keyboard to tab through the links. A list of “click here” and “next” links are not helpful.

Extra BenefitGoogle and other search engines rank pages higher in search results that have contextual links.

Appearance

The way clickable elements are designed to display on the website should make them obvious. Traditionally, the cue for a link is a blue underline and buttons are square and appear slightly 3-D. The signifiers are evolving but weigh the cost to benefits carefully if you diverge from these conventions. Most importantly, don’t forget the issue of color blindness.

Learn More

Accessibility expert Jim Thatcher provides in-depth information about the barrier non-contextual links pose to users of assistive technology. Get some advice on productive link text choices from the usability experts at UX Movements. For some design ideas read Beyond Blue Links: Making Clickable Elements Recognizable from the Nielsen Norman Group.

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