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Let's say, there is a complex data governance software tool. One of its features is a dedicated glossary with technical definitions of all the industry specific terms.

Next, when a user generates some text and the text contains one of these specific terms a hyperlink is automatically created on this word and it leads to the glossary definition. Makes sense?

My question is, should I visually distinguish these hyperlinks that lead to the glossary form other hyperlinks? If yes, how? I am struggling to find any examples on the internet.

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Default / standard hyperlinks all over the internet can be either: different colour or underlined text, or both. In your case I think that's a good step to distinguish glossary terms from normal hyperlinks, so user knows in front if they gonna be forwarded to read more (different page) or just to check the term in a glossary.

Think of adding, for example, dots underneath the term. Something like underline, but dashed. It reminds me automatically of for example Duolingo words: enter image description here

In Duolingo's case you can check every word (that's why all of them are underdotted) but colour one is the new one you didn't have before.

You can approach your case in two ways:

  • Make the colour similar to your hyperlinks so user associate it with the link. (similar which means red-orange, or blue-navy blue, or blue-purple, green-lime, etc) and add underdotted style.
  • Keep text colour and put underdotted style, but that might be harder for non-techsavvy users.

Hope it helps.

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    FWIW: dotted underline is the default rendering of the <abbr> tag in many browsers, so using that pattern may be somewhat recognized. Commented Mar 7 at 9:22
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How to add a glossary entry link?

Using a span with an underline and a :before pseudo-element with a magnifier icon.


There's a solution in this Reddit:

enter image description here

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