Link Purpose (Link Only)
Success Criterion 2.4.9 (Level AAA)
Can the purpose of all links on your site or application be determined by the link text alone?
Why is this important
Users of assistive technology or those with motor impairments will often access links on a page by pulling up a links list, or use shortcut keys to skip from link to link. Therefore, link text should be unique and clearly define the purpose of the link without having to read the surrounding text.
Whom does it benefit?
As a screen reader user
I want to be able to immediately recognize which link I’m looking for in a list of links
so that I can quickly and efficiently navigate to other webpages.
As a person with a motor impairment
I want to be able to easily understand where links lead
so that I can avoid extraneous and difficult movement in clicking on irrelevant links.
As a person with low vision using magnification software
I want to easily find what links I’m looking for
so that I can avoid panning back and forth on text lines to understand the context for hyperlinks.
What should you do?
When creating content with links, ensure that you are providing descriptive link text that clearly defines the purpose of the link. Users should not have to read the content around the link text to figure out the purpose or destination of the link.
How do you do it?
- When authoring new content, provide text with sufficient information of the link destination in the actual link text.
When reviewing existing content, review for links. Does the text in the links have a clear purpose?
- Do you have duplicative link text such as “Learn More’?
- Do you have links where the link text is vague such as “Click Here”?
- Do you have links that lead to nowhere?
- Do you have links where the URL is displayed and cumbersome to read?
- Revise or add link text so that the purpose of the link is clear without surrounding content.
If using an image with an embedded link, ensure that the image also includes contextual alternative text.
- For Example: “Add to Calendar” for calendar icons linked to .ics files.
Need technical guidance?
Additional Resources to help you:
- Links and Hypertext - WebAIM.org
- Meaningful Link Text - University of Washington
- Link Text - Penn State University