Links to other content provide the essence of the web experience for users, but they must be used and managed carefully.
Follow these standards for using hyperlinks on the CCBC website:
Incorporate links that add depth to your content
The power of hypertext is that it allows users to explore multiple dimensions of your content through connections to other resources that provide additional depth. Visitors expect public websites to take them to other pages and websites that will be helpful. Content contributors have a responsibility to select and incorporate links that fulfill this expectation.
Keep links current – review regularly
Links must work and they must lead to relevant, timely information. Broken links and stale content (even on someone else’s site) immediately undermine the credibility of your content. To ensure that links to other information that you do not maintain still function and that the content is being kept up-to-date, check them before each semester, at minimum. The Web Management Team will remove broken links on the site.
Let users know when they are leaving the site
Users often assume that any link will take them to a different page on the same website. When this is not the case and they are not forewarned, they can become frustrated.
Unidentified external link:College costs will continue to rise in the foreseeable future.
Better approach to identify the link: According to the College Board, college costs will continue to rise in the foreseeable future.
When linking to another website, use contextual clues and attribution in your copy to let users know before they click that they’re going to another source. This prepares them for a new user interface (different look, navigation, etc.) and also sends the cue that CCBC does not control the content.
Link only to appropriate content
In general terms, like all content on the CCBC website, links should reflect the college’s mission and values. Clearly, links to salacious, gory or otherwise overtly inappropriate websites are out-of-bounds. Remember also, however, that external links to politically partisan sites or product promotion and sales sites are inappropriate, since they may suggest a political or product endorsement on behalf of the college. Any links to inappropriate content will be immediately removed.
Make links usable
To ensure that your links function as you intend them to, they need to be useful for those reading your content:
Do not use all uppercase letters.
Mixed case text is more scannable and users are more accustomed to links formatted this way.
Do not underline text that does not contain a hyperlink.
Users associate underlining with links. Underlining text that does not contain links can be confusing and may hamper the effectiveness of actual links as users begin to disregard underlining as a cue.
Do make links the right length.
Links should be long enough to be understood but short enough to avoid wrapping (continuing on the next line). Links that are too short may be barely descriptive enough to provide an indication of the content to which they point. Links that are too long are not readily scannable. Ten words should be the absolute limit for a link.