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10:3 Match Link Names with Their Destination Pages

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 4 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 4 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Links


Guideline:

Make the link text consistent with the title or headings on the destination (i.e., target) page.


Comments:

Closely matched links and destination targets help provide the necessary feedback to users that they have reached the intended page.

If users will have to click more than once to get to a specific target destination, avoid repeating the exact same link wording over and over because users can be confused if the links at each level are identical or even very similar. In one study, after users clicked on a link entitled 'First Aid', the next page had three options. One of them was again titled 'First Aid'. The two 'First Aid' links went to different places. Users tended to click on another option on the second page because they thought that they had already reached 'First Aid'.


Sources:

  • Bailey, R.W., Koyani, S., & Nall, J. (2000, September 7). Usability testing of several health information Web sites, National Cancer Institute Technical Report. Bethesda, MD.
  • Levine, R. (1996). Guide to Web Style. Sun Microsystems.
  • Mobrand, K.A. & Spyridakis, J.H. (2002). A web-based study of user performance with enhanced local navigational cues. Proceedings of the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, 500-508.

Good Example:

Link text in the left navigation panel is identical to the headings found on the destination page.

10_03_good_example