Web writing guide: links

Users scan link labels and descriptions in addition to web page content.

  • Avoid excessive links within your text. Numerous in-text links can be distracting. Consider adding links as a list below the text (or in a right column), where they can be readily accessed.
  • Links should use descriptive text, not a URL or "click here." Use precise wording for the link text, so the user has a clear idea of the content at the link destination.

    Example: Visit the CITS help page for more information.
    Not: Visit www.umassd.edu/cits/help/ for more information.
    Not: Click here for more information

   Click here is meaningless to screen readers used by visually-impaired users.

  • Designate links to external (non umassd.edu) websites with an icon. Use an icon (), available at the T4 media library shared-->icons folder. This alerts users that they will be leaving your site if they click the link.
  • Do not open a new window (using a target attribute) when linking to another web page, even if the link destination is to a web site that is not part of umassd.edu.

When referencing a website or web page in print, try to use the shortest possible URL. The prefixes http:// and www are assumed for most UMass Dartmouth URLs. However, if the URL is to a secure server (https), you may need to reference the entire URL (unless a redirect has been set from a simpler URL.) Similarly, if the URL is non-standard, you may need to reference the entire URL. Test the URL in a browser to be sure it works before listing it in print.

umassd.edu/financialaid, umassd.edu/cas/history/

Email links

  • Use email addresses for email links.
  • In T4, you create a link to an email address using the external link feature t4link.jpg and then inserting mailto: before the email address: mailto:j2doe@umassd.edu (no spaces)

Mail to screen

Links to PDFs and Microsoft® Office documents

  • Include the document type (PDF, DOC, PPT, XLS) in parentheses after the link text.
  • No need to include the file size, because T4 limits the size of media library files to a reasonable download time.