Best Practices for Web Authors
Delta College Web Publishing
- Click Here - users understand how to use hyperlinks, so there is no need to use the words "click here". Plus, these words add no value to your web content.
(Example: to view our events calendar click here vs. view our events calendar)
- Overuse of the word "Links" - hyperlinks don't need to be called links. It's best to label groups of URLs or web addresses according to their general content
(Example: Links vs. Additional Resources)
- Long Hypertext - hypertext should be 2-4 words maximum
- Unlabeled Hyperlinks - users assume a link will take them to another web page. If a link is pointing to something other than a web page, the best practice is to label it.
(example: Contribute connection [78k .pdf] ). This empowers the user to decide if they want to view the .pdf document.
- Underlined Text that is Not a Hyperlink - can cause confusion for users thinking it is a broken hyperlink. This can be especially frustrating for users with visual impairments, so it is best to avoid using underlined text on a web page.
- Person's Name as an Email Link - hyperlinks are supposed to take users to more information about the thing they clicked on rather than forcing them to communicate with it. Also, it is disorienting to click on a link and be transferred into an email application. Another thing to consider is when the displayed text (example: email Joe Smith) is not the email address, the email address will be lost if the user prints the page. (best practice: email Joe Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Opening a New Browser Window - this disables the browsers back button which is the normal way users return to previously visited sites.
- Too Much Bold Text - if you bold everything on the page, then nothing will stand out or appear emphasized (except maybe the regular text on the page - hmm?). So it's best to use bold text sparingly.
- Missing Alt Tags - Alternative Text Attribute (aka: alt tag) is a text description of an image or graphic which provides a way for visually impaired users (often accessing the web with the assistance of adaptive technologies like screen readers) to understand the content within an image or graphic.
- Under Construction - Don't publish a page without content. Either the content exists or it doesn't. This will only frustrate users looking for information.
- ALL CAPS - all capital letters are more difficult to read because your eyes get more information from the top portion of the text. All capital letters "square off" the shape of each word making it more difficult to read. Also, all caps is considered SHOUTING on the web.