Hyperlinks that include link text that identifies the purpose or destination of the link can provide important clues that help website visitors choose which links to follow. Using appropriate link text helps website visitors scan for relevant information, identify outside resources, and choose which links are the most relevant for their needs.
Guidelines for hyperlink text:
- Identify the purpose or function of the hyperlink as part of the hyperlink name.
- Be as descriptive as possible without being overly long - a screen reader user will have to listen to the whole link before moving to the next link on the list.
- Integrate the link into your sentence - sighted users will see the link, and screen readers will hear the link.
Ask yourself when writing a link text, "Will the reader know where they are going just by the link text alone?"
Watch CCC Accessibility Center's two-minute video to learn about writing descriptive hyperlinks:
Inappropriate Link Text
Screen readers provide the ability to scan a page and generate a "Links List." The "Links List" can be extremely helpful, but only if the link text is descriptive.
This allows the user to listen to a list of hyperlinks that are available on the page and navigate directly to the desired hyperlink as opposed to being forced to listen to the entire page, line-by-line.
For example, would you know where the following links would lead you if you had to rely on a screen reader's "Link List"?
While this is one of the simplest methods to direct individuals to other web pages and documents, hyperlinks can also have potential accessibility challenges. For example, under the "Inappropriate" section above, the Links List read by a screen reader will read aloud:
- Click Here
- More Info
- Read More
- Read More
Screen readers' perspective
How screen readers read aloud information helps guide us on formatting our content:
- Screen readers announce the type of object (for example, is it a paragraph, image, or link?)
- Then the screen reader will read the content aloud.
On a separate piece of paper or on a blank digital notepad (MS Word, Notepad, etc.,) write down the numbers 1-3. Choose the best answer. Answers are at the bottom of the page.
- Which link is readable?
- How does a screen reader read aloud the following link?
Captions & Audio Descriptions
The screen reader will read it as:
- Which link text is the most descriptive?
- Module 1
- Module 1: Orientation to Our Class
- Week 5