Oregon State University

Descriptive Links

Introduction

The purpose of descriptive links is to provide users with the proper context of where clicking the link will take them. Screen reader users often navigate websites going from link to link, using the tab key (or shift-tab to go backwards), so providing links that make sense is vitally important and necessary. There are two main concepts to consider with descriptive links: writing link text and screen reader behavior.

WCAG 2.0 States

2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context): The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context, except where the purpose of the link would be ambiguous to users in general. (Level A)

Writing Link Text

In most cases, the proper link text is probably already in your content, and it just needs to be emphasized as the link. Extraneous words used as links such as; "click here" or "more" should be avoided in most situations, although if you dive into the WCAG guidelines on descriptive links you'll learn a lot more.

Use this: Learning what to write as proper link text can be confusing, but you can learn more by visiting Descriptive Links Accessibility.

Instead of: Learning what to write as proper link text can be confusing, but to learn more click here.

Screen Reader Behavior

Screen reader software announces the presence of a link, so you should not include in links words such as "link" or "website" in the link text. Doing so would provide unnecessary redundant information.

Imagine the following items are being read to you as screen reader software would. Which example would be easier for you to understand out of context?

Listen to how JAWS reads the full link URL or view the Transcript.

Contact Info

Equity and Inclusion
526 Kerr Administration Corvallis, Oregon 97331 Ph: 541-737-3556 Accessibility Email
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