Explanation Checklist


Easy navigation is essential to allow website viewers with all levels of computer expertise to move around your website and obtain the information they are seeking. WebSAT checks your web pages to see if some common navigational aids are present.

Currently, WebSAT checks only one page at a time. While this permits checking of individual pages for navigational aids, it is no substitute for user testing. Readers are encouraged to first check that no essential elements are missing. User tests should then be run after instrumenting your web pages using WebVIP. WebVIP captures the actual paths that users take in carrying out tasks, along with the time needed to accomplish the task.


Checklist for Navigation

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The following table contains the checks performed by WebSAT along with the problems that might be caused by failure to provide the indicated html. For more information, see navigation guidelines.


Html check

Potential problem


Each page should contain at least one link.

WebSAT returns:

A "NO" if the page does not contain at least one link.

Many people do not use the Back buttons for navigation. Therefore, a web page that contains no link out of the page presents a severe navigation problem.


Links should be displayed in the default browser colors.

WebSAT returns:

A "NO" if another color is specified for page links.

Users have come to associate blue underlining with links. A change in the color convention needs to be explained to the users and even then, can cause some problems.


Links should be descriptive of what the user will find upon visiting.

WebSAT returns:

A "NO" if the average # of words used is less than 2 or greater than 5.

Very short link descriptions, such as "click here", contain no information about what users will find there. Links should be long enough that users will be able to tell what information will be found if they visit that link.

However, users are also confused if links are continued on two lines. At times it is difficult to understand if there is one link or two. The number of words in links should not be so long as to ensure that the link will consume more than one line.


Links should not be embedded. Note: WebSAT does not detect implicit breaks.

WebSAT returns:

# of links that do not have a line break before or after the link. Note: There is no detection for implicit breaks.

Embedded links are more difficult to see than links that stand alone on a line.


Links should not open a new browser window.

WebSat returns:

# of links that open a new browser window.

Non expert users are often confused by more than one window on the screen. Automatically opened windows contributes to this confusion, users tend to lose sight of where they are.


Version 2.0
Page last modified: 15 May 2002
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)