Accessibility Tips

A collection of tips, guidance and practical suggestions in developing accessible websites

Providing link text

By Isofarro on March 4th, 2008 - No comments

In websites offering news, it’s common for there to be a story title and an image both linking to the actual story. The design requirement, or even a tracking requirement, may force there to be two separate links, one for the story title, and one for the story image.

Image links

A common mistake is to correctly determine that the text equivalent for the image is already present on the screen, in the form of the story title, and go from there to inserting a null alt attribute (alt="") for the image. When that image is the sole child of an anchor we are left with an anchor with no link text. And that’s an accessibility barrier.

The screenreader fallback when there is no link text for an image link is to extract something from the image’s src attribute – a URL – and this typically results in something unintelligble being read out by a screenreader.

What we need to do here instead is to populate the alt attribute with something that can be used as link text. In the case where the only appropriate (and succinct) text is the story title, it is fine to use that.

Redundant links

Its true that having two links with the same perceived link text linking to the same page is a redundancy, but this is much less of an evil than a text-less link. And much less of an accessibility barrier too.

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