Links & Navigation

Your links and navigation serve a very important function: to connect your users with the information they need. Web users are on a mission. By providing clear navigation choices you set them up for success.

Linking

Link keywords and phrases

Phrases can be easier to spot than single words. Do no hyperlink the words "here" or "click here." Search engines also key in on hyperlinked text — users are not searching for "click here." Linking keywords or phrases is also helpful for visitors who may be using assistive technology to access your web pages.

CorrectBrandeis Tickets is a centralized on-campus box office operated by Brandeis staff and students.  

Incorrect: Brandeis Tickets is a centralized on-campus box office operated by Brandeis staff and students. Click here for the Brandeis Tickets website.

Let users know when they are being linked to a document

When linking to documents, indicate such after the link. For example, links to a PDF or Word document should appear like this: 

Sample Document (pdf) or Another Sample Document (docx). Whenever possible, convert other document types to PDFs to preserve formatting. 

Avoid linking PDFs in your navigation

If the content is appropriate to include in your navigation, it's usually best to create it as page (or section of pages) within your site. If the content must remain as a PDF or other file type, either include it as a link in the main content area of your site or in the sidebar below your navigation.

Links should open in the same browser window

Resist the temptation to construct links to open in a new window. Opening links in the same window allows visitors using assistive technology to experience our website most efficiently.

Link text in buttons

Button text should follow the same guidelines as plain text links. For example:

Correct: This button text is descriptive and gives the web visitor an idea of what information they will get if they click on this button.

Read More about our master's program

Incorrect: This button text is not descriptive enough. A web visitor using a screen reader (a device that reads text aloud to someone who can not see your website) might have difficulty remembering the context surrounding this link.

Read More

Navigation

Length

Your left navigation should be succinct — aim for eight items or less if possible. Fewer choices allow a web visitor to follow a clear path to the information they need. Avoid the temptation to place too much in your navigation — try organizing your navigation by task, topic or audience.

Wording

A clever but obscure link name in your navigation can be confusing and even frustrating for users — and may hurt your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When possible, shorten your navigation link text (controlled by the Title field). Users should be able to quickly scan your navigation and know which item to click. Creating navigation links that are long and wordy can hinder this process.

Order

The Home link to your site's index page should be the last link in your left navigation. This allows web visitors to see the other pages on your site at the top of the list.

CMS Guide left navigation showing Home link last

Tip: If you need to reorder your left navigation, you may do so from your site's base folder.

Mobile Navigation

When viewing your site on a mobile device, the left navigation moves into the "hamburger menu" (three horizontal lines in a blue square at the top of the screen.

hamburger menu

When you expand the hamburger menu, you will see your navigation. The black text indicates what page you are currently on.

Arrows indicate a folder with more content. Click on the arrow to expand and view the folder.

Expanded hamburger menu