WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective


From: Oscar DeLong
Date: May 24, 2012 9:26AM

I just want to make one comment. I know some have said that blue and underlined is the convention and as such it may not be necessary anymore to underline links. I would argue the opposite. I work with a wide variety of students, and a lot of them have very little computer knowledge. A lot of our students actually get confused if they do not see the underline. Links without underline get missed as just colored text. In addition students tend to get confused about pictures as links too. It seems that unless it is blue and underlined they do not register it as a link at all.

Just a thought.


Oscar DeLong
Associate Librarian
Pulaski Technical College
(501) 812-2718
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [ <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of John E Brandt [ <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:01 AM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's perspective

My 2 cents...

The underline is generally a usability feature - not an accessibility
feature. As others have stated, links should stand out in some way from the
rest of the design (the exception may be when you have a menu bar with lots
of links). Personally, I still like links to be blue and underlined!

For folks with low vision or mobility issues, perhaps a more important
usability feature is to ensure that whenever a link has "focus" it can be
clearly distinguished from the rest of the background. The browser will
generally do this in some fashion (usually a dotted box around the link)
unless the CSS has turned this off (something CMS themes and template are
notorious for doing). If I can, I will often modify the design to change the
attributes of the link when the focus is on that link (underline to
no-underline, no-underline to underline, color to different color, no
background color to contrasting background color). But in looking at some of
my sites, I haven't always practiced what I preach.

What techniques do others use?


John E. Brandt
Augusta, Maine, USA