Hyperlink guidelines

These guidelines will help you use hyperlinks that allow users to easily make sense of, and navigate through, a page or a website.

Accessibility

The NSW Department of Education is committed to making online content accessible to the widest possible audience, including people with visual impairment.

To meet this objective we name our links so that screen readers - the tool used by people with visual impairment to access web content - can accurately communicate the content of a page being linked to.

Ensure all links open in the same window to avoid confusion.

Use relative links

When linking to internal web pages, always use relative links. It supports accessibility by making sure links don't break when some change happens. For example a web address change or content migration.

Relative linking means you don't link to a web address or URL. Rather you link to a content pathway in your content management system (CMS).

Example of relative linking on Adobe Experience Manager:

Screenshot of Adobe Experience Manager text editor using a relative link.
Image: This is correct. Always use relative links for department web content.

Example of absolute linking on Adobe Experience Manager:

Screenshot of Adobe Experience Manager text editor using an absolute link.
Image: Absolute linking to the public web address is incorrect. Do not do this for department web content.

Keep in mind that every CMS is slightly different. In Adobe Experience Manager you must search or navigate to the page path in order to relative link. In Squiz Matrix you must link to an asset ID in order to relative link.

For support on relative linking on your CMS, contact the edu.nsw team at edu.nsw@detcorpcomms.zendesk.com.

Document links

Make sure you include file format and size information with any document links.

Correct format:

File name (file type in capitals [space] file size)

Example:

Creating accessible documents (PDF 2.59MB)

Tips:

  • On Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), you must manually input the file information in the format above.
  • On AEM, you may use the download box component to display your files. The details will automatically display in the correct format in this component.
  • On Squiz Matrix, tick 'Include summary box' when uploading your file and the details will automatically display in the correct format.
  • For more information on document links, refer to the department's Content style guide.
Screenshot of AEM Download box component
Image: Download box component.

Don't use document links in emails/publications

Sending document links via email and other official communications is bad practice.

Document links can break when a new version of the document is added, a colleague changes the location of the file, or during a content migration. When this happens, there is no easy fix.

Best practice is to link to a web page that has your document links. This gives you more control over your file version, source and name.

Don't hyperlink images

All links should contain hypertext to ensure everyone can understand them. Do not hyperlink images.

Also avoid using text within images such as infographics; these are not easily understood by screen readers. Refer to the Accessibility guidelines for more detail.

Link language

Be specific...

It may not always be possible to use the exact page name in the link. In these cases ensure that you include key subject words in the link so that user can be confident they will arrive at the right destination. There shouldn't be any surprises or need to search for information.

Use Read the July news bulletin for more information.
Don't use For more information click here.        

... and unique!

Using similar link names on the same page can be confusing, particularly for people using screen readers.

Use active rather than passive voice

Use Search the school locator to find schools in your area.
Don't use Schools in your area can be found on the school locator.

Include calls to action

There should be no dead-end pages. All pages should contain links to relevant information given the information they have just read.

You can make calls to action within a paragraph, listed under a sub-heading, or in the right-hand column of a web page.

Example For more information read the cybersafety section of the technology guide for parents.

Limit links to 1 or 2 per paragraph

Using more links makes the paragraph hard to read. Create a bulleted list for multiple links, preceded by an introductory sentence.

Use

EDConnect provides help with IT problems. Here are useful links:

Don't use Contact EDConnect for IT support. When you call, you will need to provide some information. Our FAQs page may help you deal with common issues. Here are some useful links.

Search engines

Link text is also often prioritised by search engines, so meaningful links help people to find a page when out of context from a website.

Read Writing for search for tips and tricks to get more people to find your content.

Return to top of page Back to top