The link, these tiny things that we use in many places, in a sentence, as a nav link or even embedded in a call to action; but the common purpose between them are thus clicking a link could:
- Take the user:
- Download a file
- Open an e-mail programme
- Dialling a telephone number
the best thing is to give users control rather than making decisions for them. A browser’s standard (default) behaviour is always the most predictable and is what users expect.
That said, it’s perfectly all right to open a link in a new window or tab, as long as you let the user know that that’s what will happen. For instance you can add “Opens in a new window” to the text of the link.
Compare these two sentences:
The first link text is meaningless, you have to read the whole sentence to understand what the click here is about. The second link text does that right away.
Visitors scan web pages for what they are looking for. Links stand out in the text, so make the text about where they lead. A link text should rather serve as a teaser, as clickbait for the scanning visitor.
So keep in mind that the golden rule is "Make link text meaningful and understandable on their own"
Compare these two ways of linking:
In the first sentence, the actual e-mail address and telephone number are hidden. This will be a problem if someone wants to send an e-mail or make a call from another device than they one they’re now using. Showing the e-mail address or the number means the user can note it down for later reference, for instance.
How do you link to a file to be downloaded such as a PDF, a restaurant menu or a fact sheet, let’s say
Compare these two ways of linking a document:
The first link looks like a normal link, but clicking it actually starts downloading a file. The second one lets the user know that clicking the file will start downloading a file, and tells them how big it is. If they’re on a train, for instance, they may wait until later before downloading. A link is a promise, not a surprise.
In some cases we want to add an image as a link and to be satisfied with the accessibility's aspect we will add some alt text that will describe our image.
but there is a tiny issue that will face our users that suffering from impaired vision when using a screen reader to read this text out loud, the alt text doesn't tell that image is a link,.
Take an image of a cherry tree, for instance:
Underlining is the universal pattern for a link. Users get it right away. So use this pattern for links in paragraphs of text.
Links that are obviously links, such in navigation menus, don’t have to be underlined.
Oh, don't forget to read the image 😘
To make sure a link will work properly, use an <a> element, with an href containing a url. That way, all devices will know how to operate the link. Keyboard interactions, hover and focus, default styling and feedback
Screen readers announce the content on a website, so there must be actual content to announce, in the form of text: an “accessible name”, as it is called.
There are several ways to add the accessible name to a link, for example:
To jump to a different point on the same webpage. That’s convenient for the visitor, who can skip large parts of the page and go straight to the content they’re interested in.
But take care to not only the visual but the keyboard focus should move to the destination. Modern browsers do this by default. Older browsers need a tabindex= “-1” on the destination element to receive the focus. The best way to check this is to test it with an actual keyboard.
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