The user needs to be provided the choice to issue a command or to navigate in the user interface.
Forces: factors that affect selection
- Links take up less screen real estate than buttons
- Links are meant primarily for navigation and users may not expect clicking them to have consequences
- If used for commands, this can be alleviated by having the link label clearly state what it does as command verbs: "Undo"
Best practice is to label navigational links the same to their target page's main heading (or title). This way, the user experience has continuity: users get what they expect.
For command links, use an action verb. When using command links, the command is mediated to the server in form of a GET parameter. To keep all Moodle URLs bookmarkable, redirect (using HTTP headers) any page, the url of which contains GET parameters that result in user data being changed, to a new URL that does not contain the GET parameter.
I have testified numerous times in usability testing, a user clicking a link: when a new window opens, the user does not realize this (despite a new button appearing in the task bar of the operating system). They are puzzled and lost when the back button is broken. --Olli Savolainen 19:26, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Links should include associated image (if available). For example, looking at an assignment in a course displays the assignment pic and then the assignment description as a single link; however, most of the blocks like the activity block exclude the image from the link. This is important as some folks are more graphically rather than text oriented and click on the picture and do not understand why it is not working. We need to be consistent (see MDL-6820). (Interface_guidelines)
Further information / Sources
- Visualizing Links: 7 Design Guidelines (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
- Command Links (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
- Avoid Within-Page Links (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
- First 2 Words: A Signal for the Scanning Eye (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)