Link Tips

Hyperlinks are the most important navigation tools on a Web site. Without them, moving around the Web would be pretty difficult. For users with disabilities, not being able to access links can pose problems. So, it's essential to design accessible hyperlinks.

Word Links Properly

Links must be worded properly to enable users with screen readers to understand them.

The following links are worded incorrectly. For example:

Click here for Google
Click here for Yahoo!

A user with a screen reader who is tabbing through the links only hear "click here" for each link, with no idea what the link is about.

The correct method is to hyperlink the keywords.

Don't include "Search" (or any other similar prefix) in every link, as it becomes somewhat repetitive.

When naming links in your site, ask yourself this question. If a user were navigating through your web pages by "hearing" ONLY the links, would the site be understandable? Are there links that seem to be duplicating the same idea?

Therefore, you may wish to create a link containing a full description of what will happen. This method, of course, depends on your audience. Go with what seems best to you.

Separate Text Links

Often you will have a series of links on the same line, or on separate lines. Separate these links with a space and a period ( . ), or a vertical line ( | ), so users clearly understand that the links are separate.

Navigating Without a Mouse

Try to avoid using pull-down boxes. Users navigating a Web page without a mouse would find this type of navigation tool difficult to use. People using assistive technology and Web TV users are two types of users that navigate Web pages without the use of a mouse.

Rank Links by Order of Importance

People using screen readers will often skip a complete reading of a navigation bar and move through a Web page using the tab key, or by activating a command on the reader which brings up a list of links on the page.

You can assist these users by ranking the order of the links. Use the TABINDEX attribute to control the order in which links are read. Please note that TABINDEX currently only works with Internet Explorer.

For example:

<A HREF="home.html" TABINDEX="3">Home</A>
<A HREF="google.html" TABINDEX="1">Google</A>
<A HREF="yahoo.html" TABINDEX="2">Yahoo</A>

In the above example, the "Google" link is given top priority, then comes "Yahoo" and finally, "Home."