To claim Single A conformance, all of your pages and documents must meet all Single A requirements
To claim Double A, all of your pages and documents must meet all Single A and all Double A requirements
To claim Triple A, all of your pages and documents must meet all Single A, Double A and Triple A requirements
Someone who is visually impaired may be using a screen reader. A screen reader can identify links. Someone with a mobility impairment may be using the keyboard to navigate around a webpage, for example, using the tab key. When they do this, the cursor should visit each link in turn. Each link can then be activated by pressing 'enter'.
Links need to be built in the programatic language of the page, for example, as links formed using the a element in HTML. This means that assistive technologies can identify links and make use of them. This means that there should not be any content on the page that mimics links in appearance.
As well being a different colour from surrounding text, links should also include additional visual clues such as underlining for those with poor colour vision, or those using a screen in a high glare environment.
From a usability point of view, links in menus do not necessarily need underlining, if all text is a link.
A special case is using images as links.
Links must have text that describes the purpose of the link. For this reason, web addresses or URI's are not considered informative and should not be used.
At the very least, links should be organised in a meaningful sequence for people using assistive technology. This is because assistive technology does not render stylesheets, which may have been used to arrange content on the page. To test this, turn off stylesheets, and see how the order of the page changes.
If you want to get fancy, the links should also be put in an order that follows logical sequences and relationships with the content. This may mean changing the default tab order of links and other interactive elements.
All links should be operable with the keyboard and should be visible (highlighted) when they receive focus.
The number of links that open new windows and tabs should be kept to a minimum. If a link opens a new window, then the user should be warned.
For links in table cells, the reading order is important for tables containing links in table cells, but the context of the link in the cell, which includes the text in the cell and its associate heading, should make sense.
Links can be identified as a different colour from surrounding text, as long as link text has a contrast ratio of 3:1 from non-link text (and they are underlined).
Links that have the same function in a website or page, should have consistent link text. For example, all links that go to a 'Contact Us' page, should have the same text.
To make sure links are visible if someone is using the keyboard, developers should at least keep the default 'focus' functionality of the browser, assistive technology or operating system.
Authorised by the Associate Director, Service Delivery & Support
7 March, 2012