Digital accessibility should be a central strategy for any company as the need and demand for web inclusivity grow. One way to ensure digital accessibility is to provide accessible links on your website. Links are essential to site navigation, regardless of the end user’s ability level, so the easier they are to use and follow, the better your UX will be.
Critically, accessible links help make websites usable and enjoyable for everyone, including people with disabilities, the world’s largest minority (over 1 billion people worldwide). Of course, it takes a united effort to tackle the global challenge of digital accessibility. Providing accessible links is one excellent way you can help.
Link accessibility requires specific best practices you can easily apply. But before we dive into helpful tips, we start with the different link types.
Types of Links & How They’re Used
- Hypertext: Links that reside in the text.
- Image links: Any image linking to other pages or files, including accessible call-to-action buttons.
- Adjacent links: Two links alongside each other that point users to the same destination (e.g., images with text under them linking to the same page).
Next, you’ll learn about the text in these links (anchor text) and how best to apply it.
How to Optimize Anchor Text
Follow these helpful tips for using anchor text (linked or clickable content).
Write Clear, Straightforward Content
Anchor text should be understandable enough to stand alone. That’s because people who rely on screen readers often skim web content, only navigating through links for relevant info.
URLs Should Never Be Anchor Text
Avoid this approach: Visit https://help.company.com for more information.
Use this approach instead: Contact one of our friendly experts for more information.
Don’t Use Generalities
Don’t use terms like “Learn More” or “Click Here for Details” for anchor text. Instead, use specific language that doesn’t misguide screen readers and the many people who rely on them.
Make Your Links Stand Out
Many end users, especially people with disabilities, scan websites for relevant content. That’s why ensuring your links stand out on any page is essential. Underlining anchor text in a bold color is one way to provide links that are easy to spot.
Read on for proven ways to create accessible links.
5 Tips for Creating Accessible Links
These examples will help you create accessible hyperlinks everyone can use and understand.
1. Clarity of Purpose
Support every link with text that clearly conveys its purpose.
2. Go Beyond Color
Use more elements than color (e.g., underlining) to delineate links from surrounding content.
3. Don’t Underline Non-Linked Text
Only underline text that links to a different page. Underlining non-linked text confuses site visitors accustomed to clicking on anything underlined.
4. Be Consistent With Link Text
Never, for instance, use different words to link the same URL twice on the same page.
5. Only Link Single Phrases or Words
Don’t, for example, link entire paragraphs and sentences. This approach forces screen reader users, who prefer to scan web content, to read the full context of the content.
Conclusion: The Link to Greater Accessibility
Digital accessibility has never been more urgently vital. Companies must act with the increasing societal demand for inclusivity and a sharp rise in accessibility-related lawsuits. Nonetheless, assistive technology is an ever-evolving solution you can readily embrace and integrate.
And because these tools simplify UX for people with disabilities, they also improve your website experience for your entire user base and help boost your bottom line. Moreover, this article proves you can do a lot on your own, like providing accessible links, to enhance your site’s accessibility.
But don’t let the legal and business reasons be your only motivations for making your site more inclusive. Digital accessibility is one critical part of an overall movement for greater inclusivity in daily life. Everybody needs the web and digital devices to thrive in modern society, and every company has a chance to support that fundamental right.
Learn how UserWay can be with you every step of the way.
UserWay: Link Accessibility & Beyond
UserWay is the go-to solution for your digital accessibility and compliance needs. With AI-Powered tools and services used by over one million websites, UserWay has a proven track record with companies of every size and background. Learn how UserWay is your pathway to accessibility and compliance with the ADA, WCAG, and all other critical laws.
Talk to a UserWay expert right away.
How Can You Make Links Easily Accessible?
- Make all hypertext links accessible.
- Use concise, relevant link text.
- Never use all caps for letters in links.
- Never use a URL for link text.
- Never use the word “link” in the link text.
Should Accessible Links Be Underlined?
Always underline content embedded in links. For non-underlined links, however, WCAG 2.0 requires link text to be distinguishable from the body content by a minimum 3:1 contrast ratio.
Do Accessible Links Require Alt Text?
Yes, and it’s critical to provide alt text to make links accessible according to WCAG Level AA. And that even applies to what’s considered decorative images that also act as links.