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Accessible Hyperlinks

The Guideline

WCAG 2.0
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 was adopted in 2008 and developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as the governing standards for electronic and information technologies used within federal departments and agencies.
  • 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.

Universal Design

Creating accessible hyperlinks in your UMKC LMS (Canvas), Microsoft Office documents (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), and emails is beneficial for a variety of student populations, not just the visually impaired.

  • Keeps your documents clean and easy to read.
  • Students can search through links to locate specific information for review and jump from link to link for easy navigation.
  • Students using screen readers do not need to read each character in a long hyperlink.
  • Helps avoid broken links.

Avoid Uninformative Link Phrases

Links are more useful to people using screen readers or keyboard navigation when they make sense out of context. Authors should avoid non-informative link phrases such as

  • click here
  • here
  • more
  • read more
  • link to [some link destination]
  • info

Your link should be direct and avoid extraneous words. For example, a link that says click here to access today’s weather can be shortened to today’s weather, or checkout the UMKC Online homepage could be shortened to UMKC Online.

URLS as Links

URLs are frequently not human-readable or screen-reader friendly. Many URLs contain combinations of numbers, letters, ampersands, dashes, underscores, and other characters that make sense to scripts and databases but make little or no sense to the average person. Screen readers will read each of these characters out loud to a user if they hyperlink is not listed properly.

For example, the readable link today’s Kansas City weather is more user-friendly than the link weblink, which consists of a 64-character link full of numbers, slashes, and text that is not very human-readable:

https://weather.com/weather/today/l/Kansas+City+MO+USMO0460:1:US

Hyperlink Resources

WebAIM Links and Hypertext

This helpful resource gives a brief introduction to links and hypertext.

Accessible U (University of Minnesota)

This webpage by the University of Minnesota gives examples of screen readers reading through inaccessible hyperlinks.

Accessible Link text (Penn State)

Look at examples of inaccessible and accessible link text and review guidelines for in-text links.

UMKC Resources

Accessibility Open Lab

Do you have concerns or questions about accessibility? Do you need help making videos, Word Documents, PowerPoints, Excel Files, or PDFs accessible? Come join our Accessibility Open Lab! Bring your questions and inaccessible materials with you.

Guidelines for Creating Accessible Hyperlinks

Keep a copy of guidelines for creating accessible hyperlinks on your computer!

Legal and Outside Resources

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act

Learn about Section 508 and UMKC’s legal obligation to create and deliver accessible content.

WCAG 2.0 Standards

Learn about the Web Content Accessibility Guidlines (WCAG) that explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.