Take a look at the following list and see if you can determine which link would get you to the Wikipedia article on Universal Design for Learning:
Without clicking on every link, do you have any way of knowing which one leads to what you want? The text of your link matters.
Why Link Text Matters
Sighted readers often skim a page for links; screen reader users can use a list of links or skip from link to link for the same purpose. Unfortunately, this means that screen reader users can miss the context around the links. Therefore, your link text should still make sense on its own (or at least provide users with a clue as to the content).
What To Do
This is fortunately an easy way to improve your accessibility, requiring no technical expertise beyond creating links. Just link on text that means something and would tell you where the link goes even without the surrounding context. Avoid linking on the words “Click here” or “link.” This applies to blogs, wikis, and pretty much any other online content, not just formal e-learning. You’ve probably seen blogs say something like “I’ve talked about this before here, here, and here” with three different links all on the word “here.” That isn’t particularly helpful if you’re skimming through links with a screen reader.
Checking a box in your e-learning development tool for “Section 508 compliant” may or may not catch vague link text. Write more effectively to link on stronger words. Instead of “Click here to learn more,” use “Read more about Universal Design for Learning” or just “Universal Design for Learning.”
This addresses the following standards:
- WCAG 1.0 Guideline 13.1: Clearly identify the target of each link
- WCAG 2.0 Guideline 2.4.4: Link Purpose (In context) (“The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context, except where the purpose of the link would be ambiguous to users in general.”)
Further Reading & Resources
- Links and Hypertext from WebAIM
- Writing Hyperlinks: Salient, Descriptive, Start with Keyword (This is focused on usability rather than accessibility, but improving usability helps all users.)