Accessibility Spotlight: Links

When you think about hyperlinks, it quickly becomes obvious that the internet is made of links, so making sure your links are easily understandable to everyone is far more important than many people realize. It is not unlikely that one or more students in your course utilize some form of screen-reader or magnifier to access online material, at least part of the time. One feature of a typical screen-reader is that the user can configure it to read all of the links on a page before reading the text of the page. This is great for students who are revisiting a section of your course -- they don't have to listen to a whole page being read, but can go straight to a site or document to which you've linked.

The feature is useless, though, if the link text doesn't give the student any idea where the link may go. Imagine hearing a list of nothing but, "click here, here, click here" or hearing even a short URL read letter by letter: “aich tee tee pee colin backslash backslash tee el tee dot Rutgers dot ee dee you…”

This link text may be perfectly understandable when accompanied by the text on the page, but when it is separated from that text, it becomes impossible or at least time-consuming to tell where the link goes.

Instead, then, try to make sure your link text says, briefly, where the link goes. For example, instead of “to download the assignment template, click here” try “click here to download the assignment template”. Now the link makes sense both in context and when read alone.