Every button should be labeled with the action that can be accomplished by clicking it. The language should be clear and concise. Use sentence case, capitalizing only the first word. It’s acceptable to use an ampersand in button copy. Examples:
Sign up now
Form titles should clearly and quickly explain the purpose of the form.
Keep forms as short as possible.
Only request information that you need and intend to use. Don’t ask for information that could be considered private or personal, including gender. If you need to ask for gender, provide an open text field, not a drop-down menu.
Be clear and concise in explanatory or instructional text that accompanies form fields.
Use sentence case for all content, including labels and menu items.
Headings and subheads
Adding a visual structure via headings and subheads organizes content for users. Also, screen readers for users with low vision look for page headings and lists first. Search engines give more weight to words that appear in titles and early in paragraphs.
Headings give people a taste of what they’re about to read.
Subheads break articles into smaller, more specific sections. They give readers points of entry into your content and make it more scannable.
Include the most relevant keywords in your headings and subheads, and make sure you indicate the main point of the content.
Use sentence case for headings and subheads. Do not include ending punctuation unless—and this should be avoided if possible—the heading is two sentences; in that case, punctuate both sentences.
Provide a link when you refer to content on another page of the AHS website or on an external site. In the latter case, make sure you are linking to trusted external resources.
Don’t include preceding articles (a, an, the, our) in the link text. For example:
If a link comes at the end of a sentence or before a comma, don’t link the punctuation mark.
Don’t write link text that says things like “Click here” or “Click for more information” or “Read this.” Write the sentence as you normally would, and link relevant keywords.
Links are automatically formatted to look different than any other copy on the page. Do not add additional formatting to links.
Numbered and bulleted lists
Users love lists. They are more effective than a paragraph when presenting steps, groups or sets of information. Give context for the list with a brief introduction. Use a numbered list when the order is important, like when you’re describing steps of a process. Otherwise, use bullets.
If even one of the list items is a complete sentence, use proper punctuation and capitalization on all of the items. If list items are not complete sentences, don’t use punctuation, but do capitalize the first word of each item.
Sometimes a long piece of copy lends itself to a list of related links at the end. Don’t go overboard; three is a magic number, and four should be the maximum.
Related content links should appear in a logical order, preferably in decreasing relevance from the current article. If all content is roughly equally relevant, follow the step down/step up rule: The first linked article should be a step down in complexity from the current article. The second one should be a step up in complexity to a more advanced article.
If a link appeared in the body text of the current article, it’s unnecessary to repeat that link in the list of related content.