There are a couple of ways to edit your web addresses to make them accessible for all users and more readable for screen readers.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that some people do not own a smartphone, or can afford to pay for a phone plan with unlimited data. Other people who live away from the cities might have slower and limited internet access. Some people prefer to read their emails without downloading images, or look at text versions of websites. Other people with a sight impairment might use a screen (text) reader.
Typically, when online most people are searching for the information they need quickly, so they tend to skip large sections. We tend not to read word for word like we do on printed material and books.
How to Create an Accessible Web Address
A descriptive hyperlink is better for skim readers and makes more sense out of context. It’s ideal for anyone using a screen reader where they can jump from hyperlink to hyperlink.
Avoid underlining any text which is not a hyperlink, as it may confuse your user and be difficult to read. It’s best practice to use styles for formatting headings. Defiantly avoid underling headings.
It’s helpful to add your call to action here. Write out in plain English what action you want your reader to complete next.
- Add the hyperlink over the full name of the webpage or website.
- Avoid hyperlinking casual phrases like ‘click here’, ‘check it out’, ‘this link’ or ‘read more’
- Avoid using just an acronym
How to Create an Accessible Link to a Document
If you’re adding a hyperlink to a document. It’s best to save the file as optimised for the web so it doesn’t take too long for the user to download it. You might like to use an Adobe PDF format.
When you add a document include the file format and file size in brackets, so your user knows in advance what they are downloading. For very large files, you might like to divide the document into smaller sections. A person may only need the summary or a diagram.
This is useful if like me, you try to avoid downloading large documents on your mobile phone. My smartphone is currently so full of apps and photos that I’m unable to do updates – as a result, I prefer to read documents on my PC.
If you think the webpage or document might be printed on paper, then you might like to include the web address in full nearby or underneath.
Test your Hyperlinks
It’s good practice to test all of your hyperlinks to ensure they are working properly. You’ll want to change the settings so that when the user clicks on the link it opens in a new tab or browser window.
The World Wide Consortium (W3C) is a well-respected global community that sets the standards for web accessibility and web development. https://www.w3.org/
Image Credit: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon