W3C Style Guide

Linking to context

A major difference between writing part of a serial text, and an online document, is that your readers may have jumped in from anywhere. Even though you have only made links to it from one place, any other person may want to refer to that particular point, and will so make a link to that particular part of your work from their own. So you can't rely on your reader having followed your path through your work.

Of course if you are writing a tutorial, it will be important to keep the flow from one document to the next in the order you intended for its primary audience. You may not wish to cater specially for those who jump in out of the blue, but it is wise to leave them with enough clues so as not to be hopelessly lost. Some ways of doing this are:

It can also be useful to imagine as you are writing that you yourself may wish to reuse the document. some day.

Navigational Icons

Icons make great navigational hints. It is very effective to have the same consistent icon throughout the work, always (except on the "top" page) linked back to the top page. This kills two birds with one stone: it gives consistency to the work, so readers know when they are in it and when they are outside it, and it also gives them a quick way of getting back to the top of it.

You can do the same thing with sections, so that at the top (or bottom) of each page you might have a small string of icons, the first to go back to the top of the work, the second to go back to the chapter, the third to go back to the section within the chapter, for example.

[This style guide was for a long time empty of icons because I was editing it with the old hypertext editor which doesn't handle images. I may fix that with time -tbl]

(Part of style guide for online hypertext . Up to Writing each document , on to Title tag )
Tim BL