What Are Descriptive Links?
Links, or urls, should tell the user exactly where they’ll go if they click on them. They should make sense when taken out of context of the surrounding text. If link text is not descriptive, it will be unclear or difficult to read where the links lead.
These non-descriptive links both point to the same destination:
- Ambiguous version: Read More
- Long url: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
And here is a descriptive version of the same link:
Why Use Descriptive Links?
People who use screen readers either tab through links or bring up a links list. This takes the links out of the context of the surrounding text. People using voice recognition can also use link text to jump directly to a specific link using speech. Making links descriptive ensures that everyone knows where a link will take them and allows AT users to get there more quickly.
One major problem is ambiguous links such as “click here” or “read more.”
Another form of non-descriptive links are long urls. These begin with http://… and are difficult for anyone to read. They are especially cumbersome for someone who is listening to the page.