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Links

Ensure your links describe where they are going. Whether you're writing an email, blog post, web page, or document — your links should always be clear, self-descriptive, and make sense out of context.

Descriptive links improve scannability as they provide visual cues and a clear call-to-action. For people who use assistive technology, descriptive links can accurately convey the purpose and function of the link without additional context. 

Effective link text

  • Avoid link text such as “click here” or "learn more." These call-to-actions do not provide any relevant information to someone using a screen reader.
  • Links should be unique and describe where it takes you. If you have multiple links that look or sound similar (but point to different sections), use different words for each link.
    • Links to files (e.g. Microsoft Word, PDF, etc.) should also indicate the file type or destination within the link text.
  • Avoid linking long URLs. Longer, less intelligible URLs used as link text might be difficult to comprehend with assistive technology.
  • Links should be clear and concise. Avoid linking entire sentences or paragraphs.

Effective examples 

  1. WebAIM has a comprehensive article describing effective link text best practices. (external link) 
  2. WCAG 2.0 requires that links describe their purpose (external link)  from the link text alone.
  3. Links within body text should have an underline, (external link)  and not rely on colour alone.
  4. For emails, use the email address as the link text, rather than masking it in descriptive text. For example: help@torontomu.ca
  5. Download a  (PDF file) set of posters on how to design for accessibility. (external link) 

Ineffective examples 

  1. WebAIM has a comprehensive article (external link)  describing effective link text best practices.
  2. Learn how (external link)  WCAG 2.0 requires that links describe their purpose from the link text alone.
  3. Links within body text should have an underline, and not rely on colour alone: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/F73.html (external link) 
  4. For emails, use the email address as the link text, rather than masking it in descriptive text. For example, TMU Help.
  5.  (PDF file) Download (external link)  a set of posters on how to design for accessibility.

Accessible links within references

For web pages or online-only resources, the APA Style guide encourages descriptive links by wrapping the URL or DOI of the work around its title. 

Example for online-only web pages


Warne, R. T., Astle, M. C., & Hill, J. C. (2018). What do undergraduates learn about human intelligence? An analysis of introductory psychology textbooks (external link) Archives of Scientific Psychology6(1), 32–50.

Example for print or documents


Warne, R. T., Astle, M. C., & Hill, J. C. (2018). What do undergraduates learn about human intelligence? An analysis of introductory psychology textbooks. Archives of Scientific Psychology6(1), 32–50. https://doi.org/10.1037/arc0000038 (external link)