It should be easy for the user to distinguish a link from other content on the screen. To make links stand out to the user, they should always be underlined, regardless of the link state. Link text (i.e., the visible text for a link) should be informative and concise. The link text should not be a URL, and it should clearly indicate what page the link will open. Additionally, the observable features of links that do the same thing must be consistent. The visual similarity of related links relates to another important point; it should always be clear to the user what a link will do. The method for opening a link (e.g., new tab versus new window) can be made obvious to the user by using features such as an informative link icon. There are additional points to consider if a link is not simply text. If a link is an image without link text, then a text alternative describing the link must be provided. If a link is an image with link text, then the image and text must link to the same thing, and the image must be defined as decorative.

CEL Accessibility Guidance (derived from WCAG 2.0) Addressing the Use of Links:

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  • Key Terms

    1. Must means do things in the manner described exactly.
    2. Should means do things in the manner described unless there is a good reason not to [i.e., instructor has other needs].
    3. [Supplementary information] is provided in square brackets.