Creating Accessible and Inclusive Links
This is a guide for creating accessible and inclusive links for your Word documents, presentations, PDF files, e-mail messages, social media posts and webpage content.
Why Your Links Should Never Say "Click Here" (or "here" or 'read more" or "learn more")
Using the word “click” on your links takes the user’s attention away from the interface and on to their mouse. Users know what a link is and how to use a mouse. Remeber not all users are clicking links, some are tapping on a phone or tablet. So drawing attention to the action of clicking a mouse is not accurate and is not your intended focus or purpose of a link.
Linking the Word "Here" Conceals What Users Are Clicking
Some links use the word “here” instead of “click.” Using“here” in a link conceals what the user is clicking. The text around the link might explain what they are clicking, but when the user reads the link itself will not undersatnd link destination. This means that the user has to read the text all around the link to understand the context of the link. If there’s a lot of text around your 'click here", this could be time consuming for the user.
Link to the name / title of the destination of the URL. And if possible, put the
link at the end of a sentence.
Example: Visit the College of Humanities and Social Sciences web site.
Why You Should Not Use "Here" or "Learn More" or "Read More" or Use These More Than Once on the Same Page
Using the word “here” to make a link noticeable is unnecessary because that is what the distinct styling of a link is supposed to do. Typically linked text is a different color and underlined.
Using multiple "click here" and "learn more" on the same page or same document forces the user to use context clues to understand the link desitination. It is frustrating to users with screen readers to keep hearing 'read more', 'learn more' or 'click here', 'click to visit', etc... over and over again on the same web page or document or presentation
An accessible link text is a text that makes sense without any context . Linked text should explain clearly what information the reader will get by clicking on that link. "Click here", "Read More", "Learn More" text is too vague.
Tips for Writing Link Text
- Avoid using a full URL as your link text; especially if it is long or complicated - URLS are not easily read by humans and assitive technologies such as screen readers. Screen readers will read out loud every character of the URL, this could become frustrating.
- Keep linked phrases as short as possible, while still being meaningful out of context.
This will save screen reader users time, as less text will need to be spoken by the
screen reader software
Example: Linking the three words "make a gift" is preferable to "to make a gift online please click here"
Linking the two words "contact us" is preferable to "you can contact us by"
- Link at least one full word but two words are better. Do not link to a single letter or character or number.
- Put actions links at the end of your sentence such as contact information, "Contact Us"
- You can have links on a page or in a document that have the same destination but your linking text must be different.
- Never leave empty links "href=""
Do not instruct readers to click an image, photo, image of a button or logo to go to a web site, to register, etc... This creates uneccesary steps for everyone.
To Link Text in Microsoft Office Applications:
- Copy the URL destination
- Select/highlight the text you want linked
- With your text selected, hit 'cntrl + K' keys together
- Paste your URL
QR Codes in Emails, Social Media, Websites
There is no need to include a QR code in an email message, webpage, or social media post. If you are reading an email or a social media post, you are already online and can simply click linked of text in your email message to reach your destination. Providing only a QR code adds and extra unecessary step for those on mobile devices and desktop computers. QR code are for print to provide a convience of the viewer so they do not need to type a hyperlink.
Inclusive Link Text
(Content from LinkedIn Learning Course, "Creating Inclusive Content")
"Click here" is not inclusive language for users navigating with assistive technologies. Not everyone is 'clicking' a mouse.
Good Inclusive Link Text:
- Avoids vague terms such as 'read more', 'click here', 'learn more'
- Includes specific information, that is, you can determine the purpose of the link by the link text alone
- Should be No longer than one sentence
- Should be No shorter than three characters
- Should add details when possible (Example for a download link: Download the School Calendar (.pdf, 20kb)