Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Avoid Within-Page Links

Usability of hypertext links ...

"On the Web, users have a clear mental model for a hypertext link: it should bring up a new page. Within-page links violate this model and thus cause confusion.

On websites, within-page links are bad for the same reason that PDF files are bad and that mailto links that fire off emails without warning made 2002's list of top-ten design mistakes.

Users have developed a strong mental model for link following, which has several elements:

1. Clicking a link navigates you to a new place.
2. After you click, the old page goes away.
3. A new page loads into the window, replacing the old page.
4. You first see the top of the new page.
5. The Back button returns you to the top of the old page.

Because almost all clicks work this way, users have very strong expectations that the Web will work this way. It's a simple model that makes sense."   continued ...   (Via Alertbox)

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