The Web wouldn’t be a web without all the hyperlinks connecting one page to another. And creating a link seems simple enough once you do it once or twice: highlight some text, click the link icon and paste the destination URL. Creating links accessible to all users, however, takes a little bit of practice and an understanding of how those with impaired vision might be reading your webpage.
- Linked text should be informative. Try to convey to reader — in a handful of words — what content they’ll encounter at the other end of the link.
- Linked text should make sense out of context. Some visitors using screen readers may scan your content by tabbing from link to link. The screen reader software reads the text of each link aloud. Imagine hearing a list of links like “click here,” “this link,” and “another.” Would you be tempted to follow any of those?
- All linked images and graphics must have alternative (alt) text. A linked image without alternative text can be invisible to vision-impaired visitors. Alt text must be provided and written in a way that describes the linked resource.
- Here is a helpful resource that explains how screen readers handle links. (Real link! Click it to learn more.)
- Alt text is required for linked images. WebAIM has a great page about the importance of alt text for linked images.
- In fact, WebAIM is one of the best web accessibility resources available.
Do Not “Click Here”
As mentioned above, avoid linking short, generic words or phrases. “Click here” and “this link” have no meaning out of context. Reviewing your content and fixing links like these will both make it more accessible and make it more digestible by search engines, which will make it easier for everyone to find. It’s win-win.