HTML and CSS Reference
6.4. Creating Effective Links
A document becomes hypertext when you toss in a few links in the same
way that water becomes soup when you throw in a few vegetables. Tech-
nically, you've met the goal, but the outcome may not be very tasty.
Inserting anchors into your documents is something of an art, requiring
good writing skills, HTML/XHTML prowess, and an architectural sense of
your documents and their relationships to others on the Web. Effective
links flow seamlessly into a document, quietly supplying additional
browsing opportunities to the reader without disturbing the current doc-
ument. Poorly designed links scream out, interrupt the flow of the source
document, and generally annoy the reader.
While there are as many linking styles as there are authors, here are a
few of the more popular ways to link your documents. All do two things:
they give the reader quick access to related information, and they tell the
reader how the link is related to the current contents.
6.4.1. Lists of Links
Perhaps the most common way to present hyperlinks is in ordered or un-
ordered lists in the style of a table of contents or list of resources.
Two schools of style exist. One puts the entire list item into the source
anchor; the other abbreviates the item and puts a shorthand phrase in
the source anchor. In the former, make sure you keep the anchor con-
tent short and sweet; in the latter, use a direct writing style that makes
it easy to embed the link.
If your list of links becomes overly long, consider organizing it into sev-
eral sublists grouped by topic. Readers can then scan the topics (set off,
perhaps, as <h3> headers) for the appropriate list and then scan that list
for the desired document.
The alternative list style is much more descriptive, but also wordier, so
you have to be careful that it doesn't end up cluttered: