Your Linking Education

Today’s #BlogEveryDayInMay prompt:
Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at. Take any approach you’d like (serious and educational or funny and sarcastic)

My full-time day job is the “Director of Web Services.” That means that I think about web technologies and best practices A LOT. So today I’m just going to do a brief education on linking practices for accessibility. (VERY BRIEF… accessibility is a deep topic!)

First of all, accessibility means making your content accessible to all users, including those with various disabilities like blindness, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, etc.

One of the easiest ways to make your links accessible to blind users is to read through just the linked text in your post. If they don’t make any sense without the supporting text, rethink your link.

Example:
Typical – Get information on my family by clicking here.
Better – Get information on my family

See how that works? If you just read “clicking here” by itself, it wouldn’t make any sense. But if you read “Get information on my family” you’d have a pretty good idea of what that link is for.

Why? Blind users access the web via screen readers that read the content of a page out loud to them. Users have the option of skipping all the text on the page and just having links read to them to make surfing faster. So if they encounter a page that says a bunch of “click here, click here, click here…” it’s basically unusable for them.

So there you go… The more you know…

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8 comments

  1. This thought would have NEVER crossed my mind, and now I think it will be one of those tidbits that stays there forever! So there you have it. I will most likely mentally reference this post when I come across any of these instances.

  2. As a fellow runner and web developer (who is actually required by the state to know all the ins and outs of web accessibility) I love seeing simple accessibility tips for people. Most people that I talk to just aren’t aware of the quick and easy things they can do to make a website more functional for people with various disabilities…and that many of those quick and easy things make the site more usable for all users, even those who are without disabilities.

    For instance, the example that you posted where you make the descriptive text itself the link vs having a “click here” link also makes the content shorter and easier/faster to read, improving usability.

  3. Just shared this one with my co workers as we all participate in our web presence and have several blind individuals who are regular users!

  4. I appreciated this when you shared it last year, and have thought back to it often. I’m actually presenting to my department at work today about creating knowledge base articles, and have your blog as a reference on my presentation because I am mentioning this as important when they are creating hyperlinks in articles, so thank you!

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