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We're working on an application in which users can add hyperlinks. However, we're having a hard time finding an acceptable word that is easily understood by our users. We've asked about 10 users and they're pretty split between our current ideas.

We've come up with:

  • Hyperlink (used by SE's markdown toolbar)
  • Web Address (used by Gmail)
  • External Link (used by Lucid Chart - which is sort of similar to our application).

Is there any data to suggest which is more popular?

We can't use "link" for URLs since our application has links to things within our application (see my other post).

Here's a mock up of the current UI:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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    How about "link"? ;) Jan 16, 2013 at 18:49
  • @SamPierceLolla - The problem with "link" is that we have different "kinds" of links. See my other question for more info. Jan 16, 2013 at 18:58
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    Why is it important to distinguish the different "kinds" of links? (knowing that will help us answer the question)
    – DA01
    Jan 17, 2013 at 4:03
  • @DA01 - You can't just have one UI element that is for URLs and "internal" links. Take a look at the other post and you'll see 2 types of links: flow chart links and then "external file" (aka URL... the "file" was just an example for that post) links. I had stated in the OP that this was part of the ui for "adding links". Jan 17, 2013 at 12:43
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    A link is a link if they are both URLs. Are internal links not URLs? How are they created? How are they different?
    – DA01
    Jan 17, 2013 at 15:34

6 Answers 6

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Have you asked some of your (potential) users yet? How do they call it? Perhaps they can come up with the correct term.

I always go with 'URL' with "http://" already filled in, even though that isn't the correct term. I haven't been able to find a single user yet that didn't get that or had any trouble in using it.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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    You bring up a very good point about starting the user off with a hint. Even if they don't know what it's called, they always recognize the http://. Jan 17, 2013 at 4:03
  • I'm going to go with this, but also use "web address" as the text. Cheers! Jan 17, 2013 at 18:33
  • Love this! Though most of the websites are now https:// and the annoying part is if the server isn't configured correctly, then either http or https will not redirect to the correct one. :(
    – kiradotee
    May 9, 2018 at 13:42
  • Yes. I would probably go with https these days. But back in 2013 when I posted this answer, https was pretty rare Jul 15, 2018 at 18:29
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I'd go with "link": hyperlink sounds like jargon; "Web address" is redundant because a) you're already on the web and b) generally it's not in the form of an address, it's a word or phrase that is linked; and "external link" is something you can still use, but I'd personally use a tooltip to indicate it's external. But as always: who are your users?

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  • As I mentioned in the comments, this post has details as to why its hard to call something just a "link" when it can be a different kind of link. Jan 17, 2013 at 3:58
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    I think we need to see the interface you are hoping to use for this. My gut reaction is that everything you describe in that post is still a 'link', but perhaps a user would then pick the TYPE of link at the time of creation.
    – DA01
    Jan 17, 2013 at 4:05
  • @DA01 - Yup - that's exactly what I'm talking about. There are different kinds of links (a URL to something and then links inside the application) in which the user can pick. Jan 17, 2013 at 12:41
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    I'd like to see how the user currently picks links - I've had a look at your other question, but it would really help to see everything in one place!
    – Peter
    Jan 17, 2013 at 14:44
  • @Peter - Updated the OP with a mockup of the current UI. Jan 17, 2013 at 16:57
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I have always found that instead of saying hyperlink or web address, it is always simpler to call it "URL".

So if the button says "add URL", in my experience the user doesn't get confused while in web address and hyperlink, he does!

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  • Perhaps, but I think "URL" is a misnomer. A URL/URI is the "locator" or "identifier" for a web resource. In this case, the resource/URL already exists, it just needs to be associated with that content ("linked"). Jan 16, 2013 at 19:26
  • URL actually is "now" defined as uniform resource locator which provides a "reference" to an internet source. - Essentially what your hyperlinks provide - a reference.
    – user22624
    Jan 16, 2013 at 19:40
  • hm, interesting. I still think thing a "URL" and a "link" are different things, though. Jan 16, 2013 at 19:44
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If it's a list of links that can be added, you might want to consider bookmark as an option. After all, these linky external hyperwebaddress things are really just like using your finger or bit of paper to remember a location, right?

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"Link" - simple, common, clear, obvious

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    As was mentioned in a comment by the op about this suggestion it is not something that they can go with.
    – JonW
    Jan 16, 2013 at 21:24
  • Alright, maybe he should then add icons for different kinds of links. Jan 16, 2013 at 21:41
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    @thevangelist - Sure, but what do you call the textbox in which you enter the URL? Jan 17, 2013 at 4:03
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I think we still need to see a bit more of the UI to fully understand the issue, but based on what you've said, I'd suggest having one link tool, but a way to choose the type:

+--------------------------------------------+
|                                            |
|  Create Link                               |
|                                            |
|  Link to:                                  |
|                                            |
|  O Another page on this site               |
|  O A different web site                    |
|                                            |
|                                            |
|    [ interface changes here based on       |
|         above selection ]                  |
|                                            |
+--------------------------------------------+

That way the link/button to trigger the link modal can be a more generic 'create link' command.

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    I've updated the OP with a mockup of the UI. Jan 17, 2013 at 16:52
  • Looks like that's pretty much what you have! I think that's good...and I think the specific term for "url" is perhaps less of an issue since it's place in context with the other two.
    – DA01
    Jan 17, 2013 at 17:08
  • Yeah - but like I said in the OP, the users were literally spit between knowing what the word meant... which was the reason for asking this question. Jan 17, 2013 at 18:04
  • how about "a web page"? That seems sufficiently different than the two 'flow' options.
    – DA01
    Jan 17, 2013 at 18:05
  • The problem with page is that the users will be linking to files/pages almost 50/50. It's quite a tricky situation. Jan 17, 2013 at 18:07

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