Mobile Web Descriptive Link Identification

Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 – 5.2.6

The Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) states that:

It is important to identify where a link leads so users can make an assessment of whether following it will be of interest to them.

Use clear, concise, descriptive link text to help users decide whether to follow a link. Identify the implications of following a link if the target is notably large and the user might not anticipate this from the context.

Because of time issues and the size of a mobile device, a user generally will want to spend less time reaching the content of another page. A user will also want to make an immediate decision whether to follow a link away from the originating website or to another page on the same website. Because of these issues the MWI suggest in it’s guidelines that clear descriptive link text be given to each link. For example:

A web page with content about a particular subject followed by a link that points the user to another page that is a French translation. Rather than use ‘Click Here >>’ there should be a detailed description such as:

‘French Translation >>’

Or if sending them to another site where the images may be so big that it has a detrimental effect on the end-users device, you might add:

‘View Larger Image >>’

This tells the user that there is a larger image and they can then make the decision whether they want to proceed.

Unlike the WWW, the Mobile Web cost for most users and the devices that are used are slower than regular desktop computers. A user will not want to wait for a page to load that financially adds cost while waiting. Choosing where you link points to, will also be an important aspect for small device users.

Visitor Trust
Gaining trust with a websites visitors is key to having them return to a site, especially if the site in question is selling services or another subject that requires website loyalty. By sending visitors to a website that either could cost financially or in time, is a sure way for them not to return. Webmasters and mobile search engine optimisers should keep this in mind when linking out to another site. All outgoing links should be researched not just for content, also page load times.

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References:
MWI Best Practices