Provide Meaningful Hyperlinks
Links provided in-content help to navigate users throughout a website. They may be found in the navigation, or even within the content themselves.
There are some cases where links within the content may be used to direct a user towards more information, such as an introductory clip to an article. Additionally, they may be used to hide or show excess content on a page to make them appear less impeding. It is common practice during these instances to add links such as “Read More” or “Click Here” to bait a user into clicking the link. The problem with this usage is that it defeats the purpose of the link itself: to help a user navigate the site by informing them where the link will take them.
This also can make navigation for those using screen readers much harder as well. Screen readers have the ability to draw up a dialogue box that lists all the links on the page. If they are all listed with multiple vague “Read More” links, the user will have no understanding of where the links go because they have no knowledge of the content that goes before it. This is the same problem faced by users who might be using the keyboard to navigate, as they end up at links that give no description, nor tell them where the intended destination is.
Adding direct links to a page in its original form, such as the full URL to a location, can also make understanding the links difficult for a user of a screen reader. The device will read the link out in full, which is not only time consuming, but can be very confusing to understand.
Give Links Purpose
When writing directional links for websites, it is best practice to inform users of the location of the link, instead of baiting them into diving deeper into the website. Below are some contrasting examples of some common inaccessible link usage versus the same content with purpose kept in mind.
The Red Panda is a bushy red and white animal that is commonly found in Southeast Asia. Their diet consists of bamboo leaves, berries, bird eggs, and other plants. Their appearance is closer to that of a raccoon than black and white Giant Pandas!
The Red Panda is a bushy red and white animal that is commonly found in Southeast Asia. Their diet consists of bamboos, leaves, berries, bird eggs, and other plants. Their appearance is closer to that of a raccoon than the black and white Giant Pandas!