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Re: Links in context - or not?

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From: Karlen Communications
Date: Oct 31, 2008 5:00AM


I always suggest using the links in context not only for people using screen
readers, but for people with learning or cognitive disabilities whose
thought processes would be interrupted by visually jumping over long URL's
in sentences or at the end of sentences. This also applies for people using
screen magnification who have to try to navigate through text with long
bands of blue underlined text with URL information. Even for people without
disabilities, the length of some of the URL's disrupts the readability of
text.

It is handy to have the link right where you are reading about the topic and
being able to go to another resource while you are reading and interested in
the topic. I find that if I have to put aside going to another resource, I
never get back to it, but that is just me.

In both my Accessible and Usable PDF Documents: Techniques for Document
Authors, and Logical Document Structure Handbook: Word 2003, I recommend the
use of contextual links in all documents for the reasons I stated above. In
Word, I recommend supplementing the contextual URL with a footnote or
endnote that has the long URL to facilitate printing and still being able to
access the link information when away from the computer. This is also the
technique I teach during training workshops.

I am a very strong advocate of contextual links as they help everyone with
the readability of documents.

I also teach that they should remain blue with the underline because if you
try to make them just like the text, they then become invisible to people
who are not using screen readers. The blue text with the underline isn't as
distracting as either the long URL's or mousing around a page trying to see
if there are links on it because the link text looks like the rest of the
document text.

Cheers, Karen.

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED>
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Webb, KerryA
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 1:08 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Links in context - or not?

One of our Web managers has asked me for advice on this topic:

To improve access for the visually impaired on our new website, we are
adopting this approach:

* Minimising the number of links in the middle of sentences - as it
interrupts the screen reading process
* Preferably having links at the end of sentences
* Or better still having links under a Relevant links heading

My initial response was that all users would be better served by having
links in context, but I said that I'd ask if anyone was better informed
about this.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

Kerry Webb

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