How to Create Accessible Hypertext Links

How do I create an accessible hypertext link?

Introduction:

Making hypertext links accessible is crucial for creating web pages and documents that are accessible to everyone. This includes users with disabilities who rely on assistive technologies like screen readers. Thankfully, there are some simple guidelines that can be followed to ensure that links are accessible for all users.

Overall Guidelines:

  1. Use meaningful text for links

  2. No capitalized letters

  3. Do not use URLs for link text

  4. Avoid using the word “link” as part of the link text

  5. Do not use tooltips or screen tips to add more information

Instructions:

The use of meaningful text for links is beneficial by making the ability to quickly navigate documents even easier. The text in a link should be describing where the link will go. This should make sense if read out of context from the remaining text. This is important because people who use screen readers can have the software reading only links on webpages. Do not use the following phrases as link text due to them not making sense without context:

  • click here

  • more

  • read more

  • find out more

  • click for details

The screen reader will always read the whole link. A good rule of thumb, is to keep links under 100 characters.

2. No Capitalized Letters

A link text with capital letters is harder for users to read, but people with reading disabilities struggle even more. Screen readers also may read the capitalized letters one by one instead of part of the word. This will be difficult to understand.

Hypertext URLs (like https://www.fredonia.edu/about/offices/information-technology-services) should not be used. Screen readers will only read the URL one letter at a time and would be very time consuming. Short URLs can be used but only to show what the URL is, (like www.fredonia.edu). However, this sort of link is unneeded and is better to have more readable link text like Fredonia Homepage website.

Users are usually given information that text has been hyperlinked. So adding the word “link” to a link text is not needed. For example, the Fredonia Homepage would be read by most screen readers as “Link Fredonia Homepage.”

5. Do not use tooltips or screen tips to add more information

To convey additional information about links to users, it is not recommended to use tooltips. Tooltips are pop-up windows that appear when users hover over links. It is best to include all relevant information within the text of the links themselves, as explained in step 1.

Tooltips are unneeded and may create problems, especially for users with accessibility needs. For instance, people who use screen readers may disable tooltips to limit auditory information. Those who use only the keyboard cannot access tooltip content. Also, users who require larger text may not be able to adjust the tooltip size within their browser. Furthermore, title attributes may not be supported on mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Accessible Hypertext Link:

For more information, visit WCAG 2.1 Web Accessibility Guidelines.

Inaccessible Hypertext Links:

For more information about WCAG 2.1 Web Accessibility Guidelines visit https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/.

For more information about WCAG 2.1 Web Accessibility Guidelines visit click here.

If you have a document that you know will be likely printed by users then you can use URLs. But only in parenthesis and they cannot be a link. If this is not done, then screen readers will read it letter by letter.

Example:

For more information about WCAG 2.1 Web Accessibility Guidelines (https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/).