If you live or work in London, you’ll be familiar with the routine of topping up your Oyster travel card using Transport for London’s machines. Once you’ve paid for your top-up, this message appears on the screen: “Please wait…your Oyster card has been updated”.

The amazing thing about this message is its power to confuse even when you’ve seen it hundreds of times before. Because the words appear on the same screen at the same time, there are always a few seconds (more, if you’re an Oyster newbie) when you hesitate: has your card has been updated or should you wait? Meanwhile an impatient queue is forming behind you. Maybe one day a bright spark from TfL will come up with a message that actually says what it means – that you’ve topped up your Oyster card and can now get out of the way and let everyone else have a turn.

The problem with the Oyster message is that it pulls the reader in two directions – much as websites do if they put links in the middle of sentences. What is the user supposed to do if they come across a link that interrupts their reading? Read on, or follow the link? If they follow the link will they come back? And if they hesitate too long, will they give up altogether?

This isn’t a situation you want to put your readers in, so do them a favour – put your links at the end of sentences. Then they can finish what they’re reading and follow the link at their leisure. Like us Oyster card users, they’ll be grateful to you for making their journey a little smoother.