Navigation path

Linking policy

Make sure that all possible links to information present on the ‘horizontal’ EUROPA site have been taken into account: summaries of EU legislation, statistics, publications, EUR-Lex, press releases, etc. Please keep in mind the WAI accessibility while creating hyperlinks. It is necessary to create hyperlinks which make sense when read out of context (please do avoid expressions ‘Click here’ or ‘For more information’). If your links are images, you will need to add alternative texts. If your source and destination languages are not the same, you will need to add a language icon for the user. The same goes for the PDF documents, the user should be informed by the PDF icon and the size of the document should be given (if you use CWCM, they will be added automatically) .

If users/readers by following a link leave your portal, make this fact obvious to them.

For the creation of hyperlinks, please see the section in DESIGN chapter about design of the links.


Deep versus general links

A portal of links, where the portal administration “only” provides an overview and then makes more detailed information accessible through carefully edited hierarchies of links, is only possible where concise, well structured, high quality information and services already exist elsewhere, eliminating the need for editing or rewriting existing information.

Two possibilities are taken into account:

Deep links

By deep linking into a site, the linking portal allows the users to bypass the home page of the linked portal, a page that often contains terms and conditions and proprietary information relevant to the use of the linked portal. Deep links that go directly to a portal’s interior pages enhance usability because, unlike general links, they specifically relate to users’ goals and context.
A major drawback of deep links is their greater dependency on small changes in the target site. For this reason, the management of deep links can be difficult. In order to avoid broken links, deep linking requires immediate information on the changes on the pages where the links refer to. Inside EUROPA, this could be done automatically, for example by means of a logical access mechanism to pages, hiding the intricacies of the physical arrangement of information on a particular site. A nice example of this principle can be found on EUR-Lex, where a logical linking mechanism called UDL (Uniform Document Locator) has been implemented. Use of a Corporate Web Content Management (CWCM) also facilitates the link management of all pages and documents residing inside the CWCM. Unfortunately there is no simple solution for the links pointing outside of EUROPA.

General links

In this case, the users are provided with links giving direct access to a top entry level or section of other sites where they should then search further for the information of specific interest using the site’s navigation/services. The editing and formatting or thematic organisation of this site may be totally unrelated to the one of the portal.


Upcoming enhancements

The use of syndication techniques and web services can simplify the reusability of content. These facilities are already provided by portals such as EU-Bookshop and the EU Press Room and can also be used by sites produced by means of the Corporate Web Content Management system.