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Links & Buttons

Links are clickable references to another page in the site or to an external website. Buttons are a style for a "call to action" link.
Links

What do links look like?

Regular text links are blue and underlined. Visited links are a slightly darker shade of blue. These link styles happen automatically when you insert a link to a file, internal or external page.

If you want to point to closely related content, use a link.

The kinds of content that work best in links are:

  • documents that supplement the webpage topic 
  • internal pages or external websites that are related to the topic
  • email addresses

You can have a link in the main body of your webpage or in the right margin, in a feature box (see How-Tos: Feature Boxes and Organizing your content: Feature boxes.)

Best practice

To follow PHSA style for links:

  • Make sure that link and button text is short and descriptive. Do not use "click here" as the text for a link; this will not help search engines find your content.
  • Be sure to fill in the description (also known as a tooltip).
  • Keep the description (also known as a tooltip) between 5 and 15 words. 
  • Make the description (also known as a tooltip) meaningful to the website visitor, for example: the name of the website or content that you are sending them off to, such as: PHSA website, Directions & parking, MSP page on the Ministry of Health website. Sometimes the tooltip can be the same as the text you've highlighted on the page (see Accessibility & Alt Text).
  • Add "opens in a new window." All external links should open in a new window –  having this in the tooltip lets the visitor know that they won't lose their place on the page.
  • A link on its own line does not have a period at the end
  • An inline link (a link within a sentence) may be followed by a period. (The period is not part of the link.)

Anchor links direct users to content on the same page rather than another page. They are sometimes called in-page links or jump links. 
 
Anchor links can be useful, but only in certain contexts. Incorrectly used, they can be disorienting for users. However, as screens have become smaller, anchor links can be beneficial if you have a lot of page content and want to direct users to a specific section. 
 
Two common anchor links are a table-of-contents-type link and a back-to-the-top link, which are often used together. 
 
If you would like an anchor link on your web page, please contact webhelp@phsa.ca. We will help you determine if an anchor link is appropriate or if we should explore alternatives such as making your content shorter and skimmable.  

We will also ensure that your anchor link is correctly implemented and follows best practices, including: 
  • appropriate placement of the anchor link
  • correct labelling so that users know that the in-page link is different than normal links 
  • contextual information that confirms to users that they’ve navigated to the correct section once they’ve clicked the link
 
 

Buttons

What does a button look like?

Our websites have two styles of buttons:

  • multicoloured button – in program's main and secondary colours
  • single-colour button – in program's main colours
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Why use a button?

If you have a specific action that you want your webpage visitor to perform, use a button. A button is a "call to action." 

The kinds of content that work well in a button are:

  • links to forms
  • links to surveys or other votes
  • feedback
  • content that the visitor needs in order to understand the webpage topic, such as guidelines or a handbook

Best practice

To follow PHSA style for buttons:

  • You can put a button in the body text or the right margin, but use only one button on a page. 
  • Make the button text short and snappy and descriptive (don't use "click here").
  • If the only content in your right margin is a button, use a multicoloured button and remove the colour bar from your feature box (see How-Tos: Feature Boxes) to avoid a too-busy design. 

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