General Page Elements

This section details best practices for general form elements, not specific to applications.

Internal vs. External Links

Internal links are open within the site itself.  External links open pages in a new browser window.  Determining when to use internal vs. external is dependent on the task being accomplished.

It is best practice to open links internally within the site (in the same window).  But there are specific cases when external links are the more optimal solution.

Note that "current page" mentioned below indicates the page the user is currently viewing, or is active.

  1. If a user needs to access information found on another page, while still needing to refer to their current page, an external link can be used to open this page into a new browser window.  e.g. help pages
  2. If the user opens a page that redirects them to another site altogether, an external link can be used.

External links are followed by a indicating that the link will be opening up in a new browser window.

Links vs. Buttons

Links and buttons have different uses:

  1. Links are for navigation, used to move between pages.
  2. Buttons are for immediate, finite actions.
    An exception to the rule is buttons can be used to move from page to page in a workflow process.

UI Elements