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Web Accessibility Criteria: Comprehensive Link Text

  Description

Comprehensive link text refers to the wording used when creating a link. Link text should always be short and concise, and should be unique to the page. 

  • Link Description: Link text must always properly describe the purpose of the link and tell a user exactly where the link will take them. If a link is not descriptive enough, users may not use the link or may use the wrong link when attempting to find information. Links such as “click here” and “more information” and "read more" should not be used because they do not provide enough information about a link and when used out of context, may make it difficult for users to understand the link purpose.
  • Unique link text: Each link on the page should be unique unless the links are leading to the same page.
  • Do not use the same link text to refer to different resources:Links should never have the same link text if the links go to different pages. 
  • Do not use different link text to refer to the same resource: Do not provide two or more links that have different link text but will lead to the same page.
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  Why is Comprehensive Link Text important?

It is important to provide comprehensive link text to ensure a user knows the intent of the link and do not become confused about where the link will lead them. Comprehensive link text will maximize the readability of a page and make it easier for users to find information. When using non-descriptive link text such as "click here" and "read more," it will become difficult for users to truly know the intent of the link unless they understand the context around it. This can, in particular, be a problem for assistive technology users who will typically navigate through a list of links. Therefore having to navigate through various links that indicate "click here" or "read more" will be confusing to assistive technology users.

In addition to non-descriptive links, a common accessibility barrier occurs when the same link text is used for links that go to different places and when different link text is used for links that go to the same place. Such links will be misleading to users who will be expecting the link text to go to a particular place. Ultimately comprehensive link text is critical to ensure users fully understand the intent of the link and to avoid any confusion that can create barriers for users to obtain information. 



Section 508/WCAG 2.0 Summary of Requirement

Provide link text that accurately describes the purpose of the link. Link text allows users to distinguish this link from other links in a web page and helps users determine whether to follow the link.

Best Practices

The following best practices are related to link text: 

  • Link text must always clearly represent the link purpose as well as its destination
  • Do not use non-informative link phrases such as click here, here, more, read more, info, etc. 
  • Do not use the same link text on links that go to different sources
  • Do not use different link text on links that go to the same resource. 

Examples

Descriptive Link text

The screenshot below displays the list of links view that assistive technology users will interact with when finding links on the page. It is important to have  comprehensive link text so assistive technology users can understand the intent of the link. If the link text was “Read More” or “Click here”, users would not have any context to where the links will take them.

Links List for assistive technology users

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Same/ Different Link Text 

The screen shot below is an example of same link text that direct users to different resources.  All the links have a link text of "student" but each link will direct users to a different page related to student information. 

 Same link text error highlighting the links named "students"

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How to test

Manual/Visual Test

  1. Review all the links in the page
  2. Visually verify that the following phrases are not used as links: Click Here, Read More, More, More information.
  3. Review the link text to make sure it is descriptive enough to understand where it will lead.
  4. Check to see if there are any link text’s that have the same text.
  5. Check the link to see if it leads to an active page.

Automated Testing

WebAIM WAVE Toolbar

    1. Activate the WAVE toolbar and navigate to the “Details” panel. In that panel
    2. Navigate to the “Features” section
    3. Look for any errors or alerts related to link text. 

The following accessibility errors or alerts related to links are found by WAVE:

      • Suspicious link text icon: Suspicious link text  
      • Redundant link text icon: Redundant Link Text

Compliance Sheriff

To test forms in Compliance Sheriff, select ATI Link Requirements checkpoint group in the CSU ATI Accessibility Requirements.

Resources