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Link Text & Writing

Create meaningful hyperlink text

Descriptive links improve page usability as they act as scanning cues for sighted users, and accurately convey purpose and function for non-sighted users. Descriptive links also provides search engines context and relationships between link text and link destinations, which is good for search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Hyperlink text should give you an indication about where it will take you, even out of context. For example, "Visits and Tours" versus "Click here to learn more."
  • Link text should describe the destination of the link, or the action to be performed. 
  • Avoid the words "click here or learn more." These links do not mean anything out of context.
  • When possible, it is a good practice placing your hyperlinks towards the end of a sentence. This way you can 'introduce' the link without having to scan or read the sentence again.

Best practices for writing for the web

Use clear and simple language when writing for the web. This will make your content easier to read for a broader audience, including those with cognitive and learning disabilities. 

Good tips 

  • Be succinct.
  • Use bullets or lists to highlight key information or related links.
  • Use lists, headings and paragraphs to break up blocks of text.
  • Use clear, simple and plain language.
  • Add summaries and images to help convey meaning.
  • Use short sentences and common words.

Things to avoid 

  • All caps. IT MIGHT APPEAR YOU ARE YELLING.
  • Acronyms (unless you provide expanded form).
  • Abbreviations.
  • Slang, jargon or idioms.

Inclusive language

Inclusive language is language that is free from terminology, tones or phrases that reflect stereotyped or discriminatory views of particular people or groups. Explore the following inclusive language guidelines:

Featured video: Plain language for everyone, even experts

Usability study suggests everyone craves succint information that is easy to scan, even highly educated readers.

Source: Nielsen Norman Group

Relevant WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria

Using descriptive links is a Level A success criteria, which is required for conformance with WCAG 2.0 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Level AAA is not required.

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