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7:1 Provide Navigational Options

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7:1 Provide Navigational Options

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 4 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline




Do not create or direct users into pages that have no navigational options.


When creating links that open new browser windows, ensure that the ‘Back’ button is still available, and that the new window is setup to return the user to the original browser window. Disabling navigation is confusing and frustrating to users, and can negatively impact user satisfaction and task completion.


  • Detweiler, M.C. & Omanson, R.C. (1996). Ameritech Web Page User Interface Standards and Design Guidelines. Ameritech (now SBC).
  • Lynch, P.J. & Horton, S. (2002). Web Style Guide (2nd Edition). New Haven, CO: Yale University Press. Retrieved November 2005, from
  • Spool, J.M., Scanlon, T., Schroeder, W., Snyder, C., & DeAngelo, T. (1997). Web Site Usability: A Designer’s Guide. North Andover, MA: User Interface Engineering.
  • Tullis, T.S. (2001). Web usability lessons learned. Fidelity Center for Applied Technology Technical Report. Fidelity Investments.
  • Zimmerman, D.E., Slater, M., & Kendall, P. (2001). Risk communication and a usability case study: Implications for Web site design. Proceedings of the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, 445-452.

Poor Example:

The link for this document opens a new browser window that presents the user with a disabled ‘Back’ button. This can confuse users.

Good Example:

This window does not block the original window, and provides an obvious place to close the window.


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