Content Style Guide: Links and Buttons

One of the best ways to ensure that our website is user-friendly is to follow industry best practices, keep the content focused on key user tasks, and keep our content up-to-date at all times.

Link labels should be unique and descriptive (they should clearly tell users where they’re going).

Many users scan webpages for links to help figure out where to go next. Link labels should clearly indicate where the user is headed. Users of assistive technologies often browse webpages by only reading the link labels and not the text surrounding it – so it’s important that they are unique and descriptive. Good link labels also help search engines find your content.

Do: Use descriptive but concise language

Try the Library Search.

For more information, see our guide to Citing Sources.
⊗ Don't: use “naked” link labels

Try the Library Search:
⊗ Don’t use generic link labels

Additional information about citation tools can be found here
Read more about this project.
⊗ Don’t use extraneous words in or around the links.

Click here to access Library Search

Click here to access Library Search
⊗ Don’t have multiple link labels that say the same thing but go to different places.

Try this website or this website.

Tip: imagine the link out of context – is the destination clear?

Also, make sure there aren’t extra spaces before or after the text that get selected when making the link that will result in an extension of the link underline.
For more information, see our guide to Citing Sources.

Email links should show actual email address.

Clicking on a mailto link will typically launch an email app  – but for users who use webmail instead, it can cause confusion or just makes it hard to figure out what the email address is.

DO display the full email address and make it clickable.

Contact Matthew Reidsma at
⊗ Don’t hide an email address behind text or a name

Contact me
Matthew Reidsma

Buttons should have action-oriented & descriptive labels.

(not generic labels that might not make sense out of context)

  • Yes: “Give Feedback”
  • No: Go

Use the appropriate button for the task

Links that go to another page should use the btn btn-default class, so they appear as white/gray:

View This Page

Links that submit a form or produce an action on a server should use the btn btn-primary class, so they appear as blue:

Submit This Form

Your friendly Web Services Librarian

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Matthew Reidsma
116A DEV
(616) 331-3577


Guide content originally created by Suzanne Chapman for the University of Illinois Libraries. Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons By 4.0 license.

  • Last Updated: Apr 17, 2024 11:25 AM
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