Screen readers can be used to skim a document or website by reading a list of linked text. Links should, therefore, be descriptive enough to make sense out of context. Here’s how that works:
Avoid ambiguous phrases
Try to avoid ambiguous phrases that won’t make much sense in a general list. These include, but aren’t limited to, phrases like
- Click here
- Read more
Tell readers what to expect
Ideally, link text should use enough descriptive keywords to convey the purpose of a link. People should be able to tell where a link will take them and whether it will prompt them to download a file (this is especially important for files that automatically download). Here are some examples of useful link text:
- Vague: Learn more about our undergraduate programs here and here.
Better: Learn more about our undergraduate majors and minors.
- Vague: Click here to read our advising schedule.
Better: Our advising schedule is now available online.
- Vague: Accessibility workshop (register)
Better: Register for our accessibility workshop or Register for our accessibility workshop.
Make links noticeable
Links should stand out from the surrounding text, appearing underlined or in a significantly lighter or darker color than the main text. This helps users with a wide range of vision problems — including colorblindness and middle-aged presbyopia — identify links more easily. You won’t always have control over text colors and formatting on your websites and course pages, but when you do, be sure your links stand out.