Navigation and Linking
Navigation elements are meant to help users transition between different areas of a website with relative ease, and for providing orientation cues.
A redirect is a way to send both users and search engines to a different page/URL than the one originally requested. While redirects should be avoided as much as possible, reference the guidelines here to request/create a redirect.
Determining need for redirects:
The following instances may require redirects to be created:
- Specialized print or email campaigns that cannot use long/full-length URLs
- When a page is deleted or moved to another location within a site
- Commonly misspelled URLs (such as www.gogole.com instead of www.google.com)
- When a page shows a 404 (“Page not found”) message when accessed on the digital platform
Creating and maintaining effective redirects:
- Include descriptive and relevant keywords in the redirect URL to ensure better indexing by search engines.
- Keep redirect URLs as short as possible.
- Avoid redirecting pages to URLs outside of your site. This will prevent broken redirects if the destination site URLs change.
- Do not redirect to a moved page. Instead, redirect to the final destination URL.
- Expired redirects, or redirects for non-existent content, should be directed to relevant content within a site instead of just to the home page of the site.
- Redirects should not be expired unless it is known that users will never access the redirected page.
- Redirects for expired short-term/campaign URLs should be redirected to relevant content within the site.
- Periodically review redirects to ensure that they do not point to irrelevant, inactive, or 404 pages.
Supporting files supplement the content on your digital pages. Supporting files include PDFs, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and multimedia files. Note that when it would better support the tasks of your users, content should be integrated into the HTML pages. Keeping usability in mind, follow these rules for supporting files:
- Format: Whenever possible, use a PDF version of a document to protect the integrity of the document.
- Notation: When linking to a supporting file, include the file size and type in parentheses. Format should be (TYPE, size). For example, (PDF, 45 MB). - Include the time duration of Windows Media Video (WMV) multimedia files in parentheses as well. (Note: The size of the document can be found under "Properties.") - Appropriate abbreviations are: DOC, PDF, XLS, PPT, WMV.
- Interactivity: All supporting files should open in a new browser window, not the same browser window.
- Placement: Do not place supporting files in left navigation areas.