Part of web page design includes the consistent use of textual
elements. These guidelines will improve readability:
Make the topmost head on the page an H1,
worded so that the user knows why the page is
Make sure that heads clearly indicate the content
of the sections.
Avoid in-line character formatting to
heads--the results are unpredictable, varying from browser to
Organize your text so that the hierarchy is no
deeper than four levels. Lower-level heads are hard to distinguish
and disorienting to online readers.
You can include a greater number of lists on a web page than
on a printed paper page.
Use numbered lists when the order of entries is
Use unnumbered lists whenever the sequence of the
entries is not important.
Limit the number of items in a single list to no
more than nine.
Generally, limit lists to no more than two levels:
primary and secondary.
Make sure that the caption uniquely identifies the
illustration or table. For example, do not give the same name to
the caption as you have given to a head on the same page or another
Caption illustrations except when
the context is so clear that captions would be
Don't number illustrations sequentially by chapter,
section, or the like. If a screen capture has more than one illustration to
which you must refer, use a simple numbering scheme (Figure 1, Figure 2). If you follow the "one
topic per screen" guideline, however, figure numbers usually won't be necessary.
Don't include figure captions unless you need them or have a lot of conceptual or reference
Don't use a hypertext link if the information can
be succinctly presented on the current page.
Don't mention that you are providing links at
Use a description of the information to be found in
the link, or perhaps the link address.
Use hyperlinks to provide supplemental
information like definitions of terms and abbreviations, reference
information, and background reading.
Cluster cross-references under a "See also" (or
similar) heading where appropriate. Generally, such lists of
cross-references are easiest to read if they include only headings
or titles with a few words of explanation.
NOTE: The left
navigation bar on www.sun.com correctly lists cross-references
with no explanatory text.