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I have several questions about anchor links for long pages that need an index at the top.

  • Is it good usability to use arrows (pointing down) with anchor links?
  • Should the arrow be on the left or right?
  • Should the arrow be included in the hyperlink (and thus be underlined?)
  • Should the arrow be an image that is also hyperlinked?
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are you talking about the "Table of contents" –  Igor-G Jul 18 '13 at 13:39

5 Answers 5

I would advise that the arrows are completely optional. Plenty of sites use links to reference content on the same page without adding a hint to the link. The user wants to see the content, be that content on this page or another. If you do go with arrows, it's an aesthetics choice. Assuming you do go with the arrows:

I'd put the arrow on the right. On the left is easily confused for a bullet point. I think it should also have less impact on readability if it's after the words.

I wouldn't underline it, but I'd still link it. This is easily done using an image. An image will have a small bandwidth cost but prevent any character set problems on the infinite variety of devices.

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  • If the names of the links are too long then you can use the arrows.

  • The arrow can be a proper image so that it will load properly on all the OS as well as devices.

  • Usually the arrow should be on right bottom so that it is visible properly and handy to use.

Try these out !

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I think arrows in links are not important because the user don't matter where the link points. You can use arrow if the meaning of the link is related to a movement on the page (example: "go to top" or "come back" etc..).

Aniway the arrow must be included in the link. I prefer using a char icon.

<a href="#anchor"><span class="icon arrow"></span>Link</a></li>

You can manage icon with css.

Fontello: icon font generator

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Isn't it good to set expectations for the user what happens when you click a link? For example knowing it is an anchor link might even increase click ratio as the user feels safer to remain on a current page, than to browse away and get to a wrong page, having to go back again. –  Jorrin Jul 19 '13 at 6:10
    
I think users want know only if the link bring him out of the site. You can use a icon for external links, like Wikipedia style. –  Walter Villa Jul 19 '13 at 11:14

Is it good usability to use arrows (pointing down) with anchor links? Arrows are not necessary, more specifically arrows that are pointing down are best suited as an example: an accordion element that expands and collapses vertically.

However depending on the amount of content, consider using a functional element for clarity. For example:

  1. Section A
  2. Section B
  3. Section C

Should the arrow be on the left or right? Left

Should the arrow be included in the hyperlink (and thus be underlined?) It should be outside hyperlink. This type of element is used as a visual aid.

Should the arrow be an image that is also hyperlinked? No for the image and no for the hyperlinked, try to stay away from using images when the same can be achieved with HTML or CSS.

For a ordered numbered list use (like the example above):

<ol> <li>Section A</li> <li>Section B</li> <li>Section C</li> </ol>

For a bulleted list use:

<ul> <li>Section A</li> <li>Section B</li> <li>Section C</li> </ul>

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I have recently worked on large content intensive documents and having so many arrows looked like a watching traffic going up and down as a down arrow reciprocated with an up arrow. What if there are more than two occurrences of anchor where would a back link (arrow) lead to?

I would rather leave the arrow out for anchors to make it more readable if you have content heavy documents where you can get multiple anchors appearing within context.

For content which is less complex, more structured and where you dont need to add anchors within context then you can always use arrows.

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