A hyperlink is the text you type in or click on to visit a web page, such as weber.edu. Using descriptive text for hyperlinks helps document users scan for relevant information, identify outside resources and choose which links are the most relevant for their needs.
In addition, some assistive technologies, such as screen readers for blind and visually-impaired individuals, have the ability to scan and present a list of all the hyperlinks available on a document. This allows a person to quickly jump to the relevant link instead of being forced to listen to the entire page line-by-line.
Tips for Hyperlinks
- Communicate the purpose or function of the hyperlink as part of the link name.
- Be as descriptive as possible without being overly long as some assistive technologies (e.g., screen-readers) will read the entire link text before moving to the next text content. Try keeping the hyperlink text under 120 characters.
- Integrate the link into your sentence, sighted users will see the link, and screen readers will hear the link.
- Ask yourself when writing a link text, "Will the reader know where they are going just by the link text alone?"
When using an image as a link, there are some specific rules to follow. Using empty ALT text is fine for images that are purely decorative. However, as soon as you put an image inside of an anchor (link), then that image is no longer decorative, it is functional, and the ALT text of the image needs to follow the function and not be descriptive of the actual image.