Navigation and links are the features that make the web such a pervasive medium. Almost any web site will employ the use of navigational links - either within the same web document, within the same web site, or to another web site.
- It is important to all users that links be clearly marked and distinguishable from the rest of the items on the page.
- Do not underline text for emphasis when that text is not hyperlinked. To web users, underlined text signifies a link. When required, use bolding or italics to emphasize text.
- Placing navigational links in an unordered list provides structure to the document and "groups" the links together, establishing a relationship between the items. This can be achieved within the Cascading Style Sheet.
- Avoid using image rollovers for navigation with images of text.
To link your document to a website or another document, you may use hyperlinks. Below are some tips that web pages at Queen's University should follow:
- Ensure that the hyperlink has context and describes where it leads. It should not just read “click here”, and should make it clear what the destination of the link is (example, the web link www.queensu.ca should be written as "Queen's University").
- Avoid language that requires spatial or visual references. One of the greatest powers of the Internet is the ability to cross link related documents, allowing the reader to explore and learn in a non-linear fashion. Content authors must remember, however, that not all users will be experiencing their web pages the same way that the author may be. Instructing readers to click on a 'link on the right,' for example, does not take into consideration the fact that visually impaired users do not see left or right. The same holds true for references to colours or shapes (i.e. click on the 'round' button, or the 'green' text).
- When linking to a file, indicate the format and document size for example: Accessible Documents (PDF 75KB).
- Hyperlinks should not open in a new browser window. Programming a link to open in a new browser window can cause difficulties with novice users for a variety of reasons (i.e. the new window does not retain the current window's browser history and disables the 'back' button function, or the launching of multiple pop-up windows may be blocked by a third-party application), and can disorient people who are using screen-reading or screen-magnification software.