What are we trying?
In almost any other circumstance on GOV.UK we would expect an anchor link to be coloured blue, and underlined, set in bold (or both) depending on typesetting context and user need. But on the Business and self-employed browse page we've been experimenting with some links looking like normal paragraph text, with underlines on hover.
Why do we think this is useful?
Too many links, too much decision-making load.
If the user doesn't know what they're looking for, having all the subsections as links forces them to make a choice about which to click on, but that choice is unnecessary because they all lead to the same guide.
If the user does have experience in this area and knows what they are looking for, the subsections are important because the guide is actually a collation of what used to be several documents, which have now been combined into a single sequence. If you're going to list the subsections in the interface, making them unclickable seems like deliberately withholding a useful feature.
What context is this relevant?
Affordance - all the links lead to the same guide, just to different parts of it. If the user doesn't discover that the subsections are links, they'll click on the header anchor and still end up in the correct guide.
How will we know if it works?
We've done some lab-based testing with a small sample of users using a laptop. They all instinctively tried hovering over the subsection titles and discovered that they were links. Which is as we hoped.
We'll look at analytics, see how this affects the numbers.
We also need to look into discoverability with non-cursor interfaces like iPads, where users won't get the hover style.