A hyperlink (or 'link') points to a resource (URL) or to a specific element within a document (URL fragment).
Links are commands followed by humans and machines (a spider or crawler for example).
The web wouldn't be much of a web without links. Let's treat them with the respect they deserve by ensuring we never do anything silly to break them!
You can take a look at the link in action on our examples site.
Link text must never be 'click here'.
Link text must always adequately communicate the destination.
Links that share the same link text must all go to the same URL.
HREF attribute must always contain a valid URL.
Link text must not be ambiguous to users of assistive technology. Offscreen text is the recommended approach to address this. Please read the ambiguous label anti-pattern for more information and examples.
Link must warn user if it will open in a new window or tab. An icon with alternative text is the recommended approach. Please read the Open New Window anti-pattern for more information and examples.
This section provides interaction design for keyboard, screen reader and pointing devices.
Link must activate with ENTER key (not SPACEBAR).
Link must not prevent default scrolling behaviour of SPACEBAR and ARROW keys.
Link must announce with role of 'link'.
Link must invoke using virtual cursor command (e.g. VO+SPACE in Voiceover).
Link must announce 'new window or tab' behaviour before click.
There are two types of link that need extra care and attention:
Should I use offscreen text or aria-label?
If adding context to an ambiguous link, use offscreen text.
If link tag is empty (e.g. if it displays an icon), use aria-label.
However, Voiceover on iOS has problems with empty link tags. Thus, for now, we recommend always using offscreen text.