Text and hyperlinks

  • Write all content in plain English, and explain all abbreviations and jargon.
  • Include a summary or bullet points of the main information at the beginning of the content.
  • Try to make paragraphs no more than two or three sentences, breaking up the text into short chunks.
  • Use headings and subheadings to break up sections of text and create structure.
  • Use bullet points for all lists of three things or more.

It is important to write simply and consider the reading order of your content so that it flows naturally. If you are unsure, test your content by asking someone to read through it to make sure the language and order makes sense.

Avoid using italics or bold, underlining text and overuse of capital letters, as the text could be mistaken for a heading and large amounts can be hard to read for users with visual impairments. Instead, create emphasis through what you write.

Do not use directional text, such as “click here” or “the list below”, as this could be misleading for people using various tools to browse the website.

When creating hyperlinks, the text containing the link should be a specific description of the destination page. Ideally, links should be placed near the end of a sentence so that users can take action immediately, rather than having to remember to go back.

There is more information about accessibility within GOV.UK content if you are interested.

A further explanation is provided in the full terms and conditions.

Assistive technologies separate out links, so each one should be easy to identify and clearly tell the user where the link will take them.

accessibility within GOV.UK content

full terms and conditions

If a hyperlink will involve downloading a file rather than going to another web page, users should be informed what type of file they are about to download and its size.

In July we published a new user guide for population statistics (PDF, 100KB)

Quotation marks are not needed around a hyperlink.