Rules for hypertext links

A website text cannot be a “dead-end”, a closed-in box that does not enable readers to bounce off to other equally interesting content. Hypertext links provide access to this further reading and are greatly appreciated by internet users. But interactivity has its own rules which must be obeyed.

Interactivity rules

Presence/absence of hypertext links

  • If the content is short (newsbrief, article less than 1,500 signs / 250 words): no link.
  • Other Formats: systematic links.

Number of links

2-3 links at most in a medium length article, 3 to 5 links in a full length article. For feature stories, include a Link selection section.

Position of the link

  • no link in teasers or subheads;
  • no link at the start of an article or links that are too close to one another;
  • links of direct relevance to the article should be placed within the text;
  • links enabling readers to go into greater detail (through other content in the archives, external documentary resources, documents to be downloaded): at the end of the article.

Link media/publication

To remain legible, the link must be short, 4-5 words at most.

Example: The laboratory published its activity report 2017.

To be understandable and attractive, the link must clearly indicate what it is leading to, possibly mentioning any constraints (digital format, language…).

Example: Look up global rankings of the best universities for engineers (PDF, fr).

Links to a page in another language are indicated in the language of the current page, followed by the acronym of the target language (brackets + lower case).

Example: Request a website (fr).

Destination of the link

  • If the link leads to another page in the EPFL tree, then the page opens in the same window (or tab).
  • If the link leads to an external web page, outside, then the destination page is displayed in a new tab.
  • A link always takes the reader to a specific web page (not a site’s home page).