So, you want to make your hyperlinks accessible? There are a few rules about hyperlinks for text. These exist because of how they interact with assistive technology. You can also apply hyperlinks to images and other elements.
It depends on the software but JAWS will pull up a list of links that a user can select from. The list is generated by the on screen text that is the link. It is important that your links are clear and concise and tell the user where they are going before they are interacted with.
Video walkthrough of how to make hyperlinks accessible in Microsoft Word
Text overview of how to make hyperlinks accessible in Microsoft Word
While screen readers can read a full page to a user, screen reader users may prefer to instead listen to a list of links. In that case, a screen reader may only read the link text and not the surrounding text. Accessible hyperlinks in Canvas assist with navigation.
Speech recognition software allows a user to avoid using a mouse. Users can speak the text of the link that they would like to follow.
Keyboard-only users may not be able to use a mouse to click links. They use a keyboard’s tab button to navigate through a page’s links, buttons, and form inputs. For such users, it is very important for them to see which item has a focus on at all times.
Colorblind users may not be able to perceive color cues. Typically, pages present links as a different color than their surrounding text. Adding underlines or other non-color indicators help users who may not see color. Users who are not comfortable with technology may also appreciate having links underlined.
Links should be clear and easy to understand.
What do Links look like using JAWS?
The below image has two separate sites pulled up using JAWS while searching for links. The image on the left indicated the incorrect way to use links and includes link text for the full HTML URL and several wrong examples like “click here”. The image on the right represents a correct link list that uses correct link text that is descriptive and clear.
In general, content editors should avoid using images as links. If an image functions as a link, the image must have alt text that conveys the location and purpose of the link. The alt text should not describe the image. Treat image links as links, not as images.
Things to consider when using Links in Canvas
Avoid link text like “Click Here,” “More,” and “Read More.” These kinds of links can be confusing when a screen reader reads them out of context.