Link Purpose (In Context)
Success Criterion 2.4.4 (Level A)
Is all link text contextual and provide users with a clear indication of the link destination and content?
Why is this important
Users need to be able to determine the purpose of a link based on the text of the link and the text immediately surrounding the link. It should be clear where the user will be taken by the link before they choose to follow the link. Also, those using assistive technology to access a list of links on a page will have meaningful link text to understand where each link in the list will take them.
Whom does it benefit?
As a who uses a screen reader to navigate web sites
I want to use my software to pull up a list of links on the current page
so that I can quickly identify the links I can use and understand where they will take me.
As a person with a motor impairment
I want to be able to understand where links lead using minimal movements
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 contextual hyperlink text,
so that I can avoid reading through chunks of text to determine if the link destination contains the information I am seeking.
What should you do?
When authoring links in content, ensure that the purpose or destination of the link is well defined in either the link text itself or in the surrounding text.
How do you do it?
- When authoring new content, provide text with sufficient information of the link destination in the link text or in the surrounding content.
When reviewing existing content, review for links. Does the text in the links, or around the links have a clear
- 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 with or without context.
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.
- Clearly define the recipients for email address links.
Need technical guidance?
Additional Resources to help you:
- Meaningful Link Text - University of Washington
- Links and Hypertext - WebAIM.org
- Link Text - Penn State University