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Use Meaningful Links on Your Web Pages

Usability Sample

Find a link to a picture of Romans.

Condition of Persons and Lands.

The period known as the Middle Ages, says the learned Benjamin Guérard, is the produce of Pagan civilisation, of Germanic barbarism, and of Christianity. Nothing could be more strangely troubled than the West at the time of the dissolution of the Empire of the Caesars; nothing more diverse or more discordant than the interests, the institutions, and the state of society, which were delivered to the Germans (Figs. 1 and 2). In fact, it would be impossible in the whole pages of history to find a society formed of more heterogeneous or incompatible elements. On the one side might be placed the Goths, Burgundians, Vandals, Germans, Franks, Saxons, and Lombards, nations, or more strictly hordes, accustomed to rough and successful warfare, and, on the other, the Romans, including those people who by long servitude to Roman dominion had become closely allied with their conquerors (Fig. 3). There were, on both sides, freemen, freedmen, colons, and slaves; different ranks and degrees being, however, observable both in freedom and servitude.

Condition of Persons and Lands.

The period known as the Middle Ages, says the learned Benjamin Guérard, is the produce of Pagan civilisation, of Germanic barbarism, and of Christianity. Nothing could be more strangely troubled than the West at the time of the dissolution of the Empire of the Caesars; nothing more diverse or more discordant than the interests, the institutions, and the state of society, which were delivered to the Germans (Figs. 1 and 2). In fact, it would be impossible in the whole pages of history to find a society formed of more heterogeneous or incompatible elements. On the one side might be placed the Goths, Burgundians, Vandals, Germans, Franks, Saxons, and Lombards, nations, or more strictly hordes, accustomed to rough and successful warfare, and, on the other, the Romans (Fig. 3), including those people who by long servitude to Roman dominion had become closely allied with their conquerors. There were, on both sides, freemen, freedmen, colons, and slaves; different ranks and degrees being, however, observable both in freedom and servitude.

Source: The Project Gutenberg EBook of Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period, by Paul Lacroix. Modifed to illustrate web usability principles.

Usability Tip

Make your link text meaningful.

Linked text draws the eye, but generic text like "Click Here" gives no helpful information: the reader has to spend additional time reading the text before and after every link in order to find what they're looking for. The same is true of repetitive "Learn More", "Donate Now", or "PDF" links: they get in the way of a user's ability to quickly find what they need.

Read Make Web Links Meaningful in "Writing for the Web" for more tips on effective linking practices.

Accessibility Alert:

"Screen reader users can browse Web pages by calling up a list of on-page links, and activating the link in which they're most interested. As such, non-descriptive link text such as 'click here' should be avoided at all costs: it makes no sense whatsoever when taken out of context."
Seven Screen Reader Usability Tips

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Last updated on Monday, January 27, 2014.

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