Document Type: Standard
Content:HHS Web sites must indicate to users when a link will take them to a Web site that is not sponsored, hosted or managed by one or more federal government entities by using a standard external link icon (see Requirements below).
HHS may use the external link icon and disclaimer when linking to other federal government sites. This may be desirable so Agencies can use CSS to automatically detect external links and provide a consistent presentation of these links, while reducing the burden and workload on Web content managers to manually add the icons.
Reason:Users tend to assume that links will take them to another page within the same Web site. When this assumption is not true, users may be misled, or become confused. Designers should differentiate between simply moving down a page, e.g., “Topics on this Page” label, and leaving the site altogether.
Nall, Koyani and Lafond, 2001; Nielsen and Tahir, 2002; Spool, et al., 1997.
Related Web Standards and Usability Guidelines: