NDEAM Accessibility Series - Part 2: Links
This week we’re going to dive into another common accessibility challenge that users who are blind or have low vision often encounter when navigating websites. If you didn’t catch the first post in this series, please read Part 1 - Website Images and Alt Text.
Links can be tricky to interact with when using a screen reader. Links often say things like, “learn more”, “read more” or “click here”, which may make a lot of sense to sighted users because they can use the surrounding context to understand where a link is redirecting them. However, blind or low vision users, as well as people with cognitive disabilities who use screen readers, may find such links quite confusing and uninformative.
Screen reader users can navigate the web in multiple ways. Often, a user may bring up a list of just the links that appear on a page, pushing aside the surrounding context. In this scenario, the user will have no sense of what the “read more” or “click here” links are redirecting them to. Imagine just being read a list of phrases like “learn more”, “click here”, and “find out more” with no additional information about what you’re learning, clicking or finding out more about.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this. By adding a brief description in the surrounding text about where links go, screen reader users will get a better sense of what will happen if they click a link and whether or not they need to do so to find the information they are looking for. You can see an example of descriptive link like this in the first paragraph of the blog post, in fact! Also, there are a few other examples below:
Instead of writing, “Click here to visit our online application portal”, try writing “Visit our online application portal”
Instead of writing, “Learn more about our jobs”, trying writing “Review job descriptions”
Instead of writing “Visit our employee diversity website to learn more about our inclusive initiatives”, try “Visit our employee diversity website to learn more about our inclusive initiatives”
Similar to our review of alt text last week, webpage links present another critical, yet relatively simple to address accessibility challenge to people who are blind or have low vision. Taking these simple steps to create link descriptions that are more descriptive can make an immense difference for people who are interacting with your website.
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