Links

Recommendations

Link text should be meaningful, not "click here" or "more information".

Call to action links should start with a verb.

Avoid mid-sentence links as they can be distracting and may cause readability challenges for autistic users.

"Front-load your link text with the relevant terms and make them active and specific." Taken from GOV.UK A to Z style guide

Usability evidence

Chadwick-Dias, McNulty and Tullis (2003), cited in Redish (2012)

Found that users, especially older ones, hesitated on links like 'Accounts', but less so with 'Go to accounts'.

Research by Lynch (1997) cited in Spyradakis

Cautions against the use of links embedded in the middle of a sentence. He suggested that embedded (associative) links can distract the reader. He says that such links may slow down readers who are scanning because they will need to stop and read text surrounding the embedded link. This suggests that authors should place such links at the end of a sentence where they will least disrupt the syntax. Redish, however, notes that embedded definition links that open a small window and don’t change the screen are not disruptive.

Embedded Links and Online Reading Accessibility

Caroline Jarrett and Whitney Quesenbery discuss how mid-sentence hyperlinks affect readability.

Jan Spyridakis - Authoring comprehensible web pages

Report from 2000, still very valid today. Features several sections where hyperlinks are discussed (pages 368 and 370).
"If readers choose to follow a link, they should have an accurate idea concerning where they are going."
"Embedded links should be concrete enough that readers can grasp their meaning without having to read surrounding text."

See also

'Imprudent linking weaves a tangled Web' P.J. Lynch & S. Horton, 1997
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/596641

Guidelines for authoring comprehensible web pages and evaluating their success, 2000 http://core.ecu.edu/engl/tpc/MennoMenno/ftp/spyridakis%202000.pdf

'Explicitness of local navigational links: comprehension, perceptions of use, and browsing behavior', 2007 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0165551506068144

'First 2 Words: A Signal for the Scanning Eye', 2009
https://www.nngroup.com/articles/first-2-words-a-signal-for-scanning/

Embedded links and online reading accessibility', 2010
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtHNDAoQLSQ

'Write effective links' 2010
https://www.plainlanguage.gov/guidelines/web/write-effective-links/

'Tips for writing great links' 2012
http://gerrymcgovern.com/tips-for-writing-great-links/

GOV.UK content principles: conventions and research background, 2013
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/206088/GOV.UK_content_principles.pdf

Hyperlinks, 2016
https://accessibility.umn.edu/core-skills/hyperlinks

'Is the Underlined Link Hurting Readability?' 2016
https://www.uxbooth.com/articles/is-the-underlined-link-hurting-readability/

NZ Government Style Guide: Links, 2016
https://www.govt.nz/about/about-this-website/style-and-design/the-govt-nz-style-guide/#links

'Design navigation for clarity and fidelity' 2018
http://gerrymcgovern.com/design-navigation-for-clarity-and-fidelity/

'Fake metrics: Impressions are the new hits', G. McGovern, 2018
http://gerrymcgovern.com/author/gerry/

'Creating usable hyperlinks', Dan does Content, 2018
https://docs.google.com/document/d/187CTj8vM8wqNWpepNitNaJP116cjSdWrqzMyM4Qdos8/edit

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