The Web Design Group

Style guide for online hypertext

Document style: Don't bother with the mechanics

As said earlier, "click here" is a bad anchor text. Not just because it makes the text awkward to read when printed, but also because it assumes the user is using a mouse and doesn't know how to operate his browser. Unless the document in question is "My first steps with a graphical browser", the user does know how to navigate the Web.

The possibility to include hyperlinks to almost every resource available on the Internet means that you don't have to include instructions anymore. Before the WWW was started, any document about Internet services had to contain some basic instructions on how to download files, use a mail server or connect to a particular computer. Now, all this can be done with a simple hyperlink, which hides all the technical details from the user.

So, when offering a file in a particular format, do not discuss where to download a program to view or play it, how to save the file to disk or how to decompress it: just add the link and make sure the server sends the right MIME type to identify the file.

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Web Design Group
Last updated: 30 Sep 1997
Copyright © 1996 - 2006. Arnoud Engelfriet.