Hyperlinks should be easy to understand when read out of context.

Hyperlinks on the CNM website will appear in blue font and underlined. The text you use when creating hyperlinks should give a general description of the content on the target page.

Create Useful Links

Generally, hyperlink text should:

  • be short and informative.
  • provide information even when read out of context.
  • use language that explains where the link goes.
  • not include phrases like "click here" or "follow this link."

For usability reasons, you should not hyperlink headings or subheadings.

A good example of hyperlinking is, "Contact Financial Aid and Scholarship Services for information about scholarship opportunities." The link clearly communicates to a user that it will take them to financial aid and scholarship information.

Don't Set Links to Open in New Windows

Don’t lead users to new windows or tabs with your links, even external links. Best practice is to leave the default website behavior alone, allowing all links to open in the same window or tab as the current page


The default browser behavior opens links within the same window and tab. This is what users expect. Links that don’t behave as expected undermine a user's understanding of their own browser. This is confusing and users often don’t notice when a new window has opened, especially if they are using a mobile device. For some users, this behavior is so unexpected that they never return back to the original site’s window.

User Choice

The user should always have control of the application they are using and opening a new tab should always be at their discretion. Forcing links to open in a new window limits the user’s available options.

Usability Studies

For more information on usability and accessibility studies:


Let browsers work the way they were designed. The “Back” button is an integral part of browsing the web. Sending links to new windows breaks this functionality because newly opened windows do not retain the browser history of the previous window.

Opening windows also causes usability issues when users are using smaller mobile devices where navigating between open windows becomes more cumbersome.


Link consistency is also crucial for a positive user experience. Setting one or a handful of links on a website to open in a new window will lead to an inconsistent experience for users.


Pop-ups and links to new windows and tabs have accessibility issues which cause problems for users relying on screen readers or for visitors with low vision who depend on "Back" buttons and consistent link behavior to navigate websites.

More Information