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HomeGuidelines  > 3. Cook up hot links.                  

 

To make hot links:

3a. Make clear what the user will get from the link.

3b. Within a sentence, make the link the emphatic element.

3c. Shift focus from the links or linked-to documents to the subject.

3d. Provide depth and breadth through plentiful links to related information within your site.

3e. Establish credibility by offering outbound links.

3f. Make meta information public.

3g. Write URLs that humans can read.

3h. Make links accessible.

3i. Tell people about a media object before they download.

3j. Announce the new with special links.

3k. Write meta-tags to have your pages found.

3. Cook up hot links.

Links make the Web.  But the way we write the text that our visitors will click...well, we have never been very thoughtful about that.

Millions of people get misled by linktext that is too short, too cryptic, too confusing.  Because little thought goes into the actual words that make up the links, visitors end up going to pages they never wanted to see, downloading files they will never print, cursing at you.

Jef Raskin, who came up with the first specs for the interface we now know as the Macintosh, says "One person's link is another's sausage." Can your linktext be mistaken for a processed meat product?

Here are some guidelines to increase your links' accuracy, credibility, and helpfulness. So put on your fire hat, and get those little clickable phrases on the fire.

 

 

Resources

Taking a Position on hot links

Heuristic Online Text (HOT) Evaluation for Links

Poster

Cooking up hot links (Hot Text module, PDF, 996K, or about 18 minutes at 56K)

 

 

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