Checkpoint 2.4.4 Link Purpose (in Context)

The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context. (Level A)

Rationale

The purpose of a link should be clear and easy to understand for all users. Whenever possible, the link text should describe its purpose without needing additional context.

Some assistive technologies provide a list of all links on the page. If the link names do not clearly give the purpose, or if multiple links with the same name point to different targets (e.g., “read more”), users are forced to locate the link on the page and search surrounding information for context.

When it is not possible to provide descriptive link text, the content that provides the context must be in the same sentence or be associated with the link programmatically. Ideally, this descriptive content should precede the link, so that users who read content sequentially encounter the link context before the link.

Exception: An exception to the above requirements is granted in cases where the purpose of a link would be ambiguous to users in general. For example, a game may create suspense for all users by presenting links with no indication of what the links will do until activated. However, whatever context is available must be programmatically associated with the link.

Note: In software, a “link” is any non-UI-control text string or image that behaves like a hypertext link.  From Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies.

Refer to Understanding SC 2.4.4 for more information (external link to WCAG).

Development Techniques

Review the General techniques as well as other tabs applicable to your technology.  Prioritize the use of technology-specific techniques, and implement the General techniques as needed. You are always required to find, understand and implement accessible code techniques to meet the checkpoint. The documented techniques and supplements are not exhaustive; they illustrate acceptable ways to achieve the spirit of the checkpoint. If numbered, techniques are in order of preference, with recommended techniques listed first. Where used, IBM information that complements the WCAG techniques is indicated as supplemental.

General techniques

Instructions: Any item in this section represents a technique deemed sufficient. Techniques are ordered from most to least preferred. The first technique should be used when possible. Ensure you review WCAG Common Failures to avoid development mistakes.

  1. G91: Providing link text that describes the purpose of a link
  2. Identifying the purpose of a link using link text combined with programmatically determined link context (supplement)

  3. G53: Identifying the purpose of a link using link text combined with the text of the enclosing sentence
  4. G189: Providing a control near the beginning of the Web page that changes the link text allowing the user to choose short or long link text

General supplements

The following techniques, examples and comments provide additional information beyond that available in the WCAG techniques.

Identifying the purpose of a link using link text combined with programmatically determined link context

When the link text alone is insufficient to provide proper context, additional information can be programmatically determined from relationships with a link, which when combined with the link text, will offer context. For example, in HTML information that is programmatically determined link context includes text that is in the same paragraph, list, or table cell.

Mobile Native (iOS) techniques

In addition to the General techniques, use the link accessibility trait in your application.

Eclipse techniques

There are no specific Eclipse techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General techniques section.

Windows-based (MSAA+IA2) techniques

There are no specific Windows-based (MSAA+IA2) techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General techniques section.


Most links in this checklist reside outside ibm.com at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. W3C Recommendation 11 December 2008: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

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