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Brand 101: How to Make Webpage Links Accessible  

All of us at Chapman University want to produce and distribute web content that is welcoming and accessible to all audiences. One simple way to start is by making sure webpage links are formatted so that they’re accessible to all visitors, including those using assistive technologies like screen readers. So, what are the best practices for creating links with accessibility in mind? Here are some tips to keep in mind as you create content:

1. Link text should be unique.

Having identical text for links that go to different pages can cause confusion.

  • Needs improvement:

Read more about Pete Panther.

Read more about Argyros Forum.

What’s wrong with this example? These two links go to different pages. When a screen reader reads links aloud, the user will only hear “Read more” and will not know that one link goes to information about Pete Panther and the other goes to information about Argyros Forum.

  • Good: 

Read about Pete the Panther.

Read about Argyros Forum.

2. People should be able to understand where the link leads to without context.

  • Needs improvement:

Click the link below to view Chapman Facts and History

https://www.chapman.edu/about/facts-history/index.aspx

What’s wrong with this example? Making the link text the same as the URL doesn’t provide any context to where the link goes. Even if you have supplementary text above or next to it, when a screen reader is used, the supplementary text will be skipped and the link will be read as “h-t-t-p-s-colon-forward slash-forward slash-w-w-w-dot-c-h-a-p…”

  • Good: 

View Chapman Facts and History

Tip: Read all your links aloud and see if you can figure out where they lead to. If you can, they are accessible!

3. Make sure new links open in the same window.

When clicking a link, make sure the target is “none” (default option) and not “new window.” Why? Screen reader users do not get a warning when a new window opens. As a result, they will think that they are in the same window when they select the link. When they attempt to go back to the previous page, nothing will happen because they will be in a different window.

Find other tips, tricks and training materials on web accessibility and other topics by visiting the Chapman Brand Guidelines Website.