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Communications and Public Affairs

Link Text

Links play a crucial part in navigating digital content for everyone, and especially those using assistive technology. 

Writing Clear, Descriptive Link Text

The more straightforward and distinct you can make your links, the easier it will be for everyone to interact with your content.

Be specific and action-oriented.

Your link text should describe exactly what will happen when someone clicks that link.

Do this: Replace any vague link text with text that’s clear about the link destination.
Not that: Generic text like “Click Here” or “Learn More” isn't specific enough because they don’t reveal the link's destination.

Links should make sense out of context.

A screen reader can sort links in order of appearance or alphabetically, so they shouldn't rely on other text around them to make sense.

Do this: Use words that say exactly what will happen when someone clicks the link.
Not that: Multiple links on the same screen that use the exact same words are confusing, especially when read by a screen reader out of context.

Don't include the word "link" in the link text.

Screen readers announce a link by saying "link" or "clickable graphic."

Do this: Only describe the link destination.
Not that: Both text and image links do not need to say "link" or "link to." Otherwise, screen readers will say "link link to..." as a redundancy.

Put the important, distinguishing information upfront.

It will take everyone interacting with your digital content longer to find and act on the right link if you use the same phrase at the beginning of multiple links or if you place important keywords at the end of link text.

Do this: Identify what is unique and specific about the link at the front: "March Agenda," "April Agenda."
Not that: Avoid using the same phrase for multiple links: "Agenda for March," "Agenda for April."

Use common phrases and keep the text brief.

Avoid longer or less intuitive phrases that may make it more difficult for users to find what they're looking for, especially if links are sorted alphabetically.

Do this: Use the words people will be expecting and be concise, like "Contact us."
Not that: Don't get clever or use too many words, like "You can contact us" or "Send smoke signals."

For document links, provide the information as text on the screen instead of as a link when possible.

Linking to a PDF is easy, but it's much more user-friendly to ensure the information is accessible by putting it directly on the screen.

Do this: If you must link to a file or document, indicate that is where the link will go in your link text: "Download Brochure," "Open Guide in Google Docs."
Not that: Don't send users out to Google Docs or other documents when you can put the information directly on the screen.


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