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

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From: Robyn Hunt
Date: May 24, 2012 1:26PM


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Hi,<br>
I agree with Oscar and Sarah. In our work testing with people with
learning difficulties we have found that blue underlined links are
important accessibility features for a group of people who are often
forgotten by web developers and communicators.<br>
Cheers<br>
Robyn<br><br>
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Today's Topics:<br><br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 1. underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (Julius Charles Serrano)<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 2. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective
(Jared Smith)<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 3. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (Hoger, Jodie)<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 4. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective
(Stella Mudd)<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 5. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (Bevi Chagnon)<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 6. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (Tim Harshbarger)<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 7. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (John E Brandt)<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 8. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (Bourne, Sarah (ITD))<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp; 9. Re: underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (Oscar DeLong)<br><br>
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From: Julius Charles Serrano &lt; <EMAIL REMOVED> &gt;<br>
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Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 14:40:23 +1200<br>
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Subject: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's perspective<br>
Message: 1<br><br>
Hi everyone.<br><br>
Generally, it is a good accessibility practice to have an underline on
each link.<br><br>
Regarding this matter, I wanna ask, particularly the accessibility
advocates here who are blind, is there a way to verify (non-visually)
that the links on a page are indeed underlined?<br><br>
I think for sighted accessibility advocates, this is not a problem. I
just wanna know if there is a way for blind advocates to verify that
links are underlined. Perhaps we can do this by looking at the code? Any
ideas?<br><br>
I think being able to verify this is necessary because sometimes web
developers tend to remove the underlines for whatever reason.<br><br>
Thanks everyone.<br><br>
Julius<br><br>
<br><br>
-- <br>
Julius Charles Serrano<br>
Accessibility Specialist<br>
Catalyst IT Ltd<br>
<a href="http://www.catalyst.net.nz/" eudora="autourl">
http://www.catalyst.net.nz<;/a><br>
Mail: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
Phone: +64 (4) 803-2436<br><br>
<br><br>
<br>
From: Jared Smith &lt; <EMAIL REMOVED> &gt;<br>
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Date: Wed, 23 May 2012 21:23:21 -0600<br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 2<br><br>
On Wed, May 23, 2012 at 8:40 PM, Julius Charles Serrano wrote:<br>
&gt; is there a way to verify (non-visually)<br>
&gt; that the links on a page are indeed underlined?<br><br>
You can't easily tell from the markup alone, unless you check the
CSS<br>
to see if there's some style somewhere that might remove the<br>
underline. One easy way would be to use Firebug in Firefox to
analyze<br>
the link and see if the computed text-decoration style is set to<br>
either underline or none.<br><br>
Jared<br><br>
<br><br>
From: &quot;Hoger, Jodie&quot; &lt; <EMAIL REMOVED> &gt;<br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 3<br><br>
Hi there. I am new to the list and have been watching closely. I am
not<br>
techy in the slightest - smile but am totally blind and use a screen<br>
reader (window eyes by gw micro) and am passionate about universal<br>
design. From my perspective, I usually tab from link to link or use
the<br>
find feature for links. Either way, I do not get any feedback that a<br>
link is underlined and in fact, until this discussion, was not aware<br>
that links were. I would imagine for people with vision impairments,<br>
learning difficulties and anyone else I suppose that the common
practice<br>
of an underline would assist in the identification of the link. <br>
For me though, it makes no difference.<br>
I hope this feedback is useful. <br>
Best wishes,<br>
Jo<br><br>
&nbsp;Jodie Hoger<br>
Teacher Consultant (vision), Equity Services TAFE NSW - Illawarra<br>
Institute, Building A, 60 Bienda St, Bomaderry, NSW, 2541 <br>
VOIP 54865| P 02 4421 9865| M 0437 035 042| F 02 4421 9804| E<br>
<EMAIL REMOVED> |
<a href="http://www.illawarra.tafensw.edu.au/" eudora="autourl">
www.illawarra.tafensw.edu.au<;/a><br><br>
<br><br>
<br>
-----Original Message-----<br>
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
[<a href="mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> " eudora="autourl">
mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> </a>] On Behalf Of Julius<br>
Charles Serrano<br>
Sent: Thursday, 24 May 2012 12:40 PM<br>
To: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
Subject: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br><br>
Hi everyone.<br><br>
Generally, it is a good accessibility practice to have an underline on
<br>
each link.<br><br>
Regarding this matter, I wanna ask, particularly the accessibility <br>
advocates here who are blind, is there a way to verify (non-visually)
<br>
that the links on a page are indeed underlined?<br><br>
I think for sighted accessibility advocates, this is not a problem. I
<br>
just wanna know if there is a way for blind advocates to verify that
<br>
links are underlined. Perhaps we can do this by looking at the code?
Any<br><br>
ideas?<br><br>
I think being able to verify this is necessary because sometimes web
<br>
developers tend to remove the underlines for whatever reason.<br><br>
Thanks everyone.<br><br>
Julius<br><br>
<br><br>
-- <br>
Julius Charles Serrano<br>
Accessibility Specialist<br>
Catalyst IT Ltd<br>
<a href="http://www.catalyst.net.nz/" eudora="autourl">
http://www.catalyst.net.nz<;/a><br>
Mail: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
Phone: +64 (4) 803-2436<br><br>
<a href="http://list.webaim.org/" eudora="autourl">
http://list.webaim.org/<;/a><br>
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From: Stella Mudd &lt; <EMAIL REMOVED> &gt;<br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 4<br><br>
Julius,<br><br>
&gt; Generally, it is a good accessibility practice to<br>
&gt; have an underline on each link.<br><br>
I think you'll find arguments on both sides, but I have never felt
an<br>
underline is necessary.&nbsp; Bottom line for me is whether a link can
be<br>
discernible, which has never necessitated an underline.&nbsp; I would
argue good<br>
usability no longer requires an underline.<br><br>
Arguments?<br><br>
- Stella<br><br>
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, Julius Charles Serrano wrote:<br><br>
&gt; Hi everyone.<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt; Generally, it is a good accessibility practice to have an underline
on<br>
&gt; each link.<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt; Regarding this matter, I wanna ask, particularly the
accessibility<br>
&gt; advocates here who are blind, is there a way to verify
(non-visually)<br>
&gt; that the links on a page are indeed underlined?<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt; I think for sighted accessibility advocates, this is not a problem.
I<br>
&gt; just wanna know if there is a way for blind advocates to verify
that<br>
&gt; links are underlined. Perhaps we can do this by looking at the code?
Any<br>
&gt; ideas?<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt; I think being able to verify this is necessary because sometimes
web<br>
&gt; developers tend to remove the underlines for whatever reason.<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt; Thanks everyone.<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt; Julius<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt;<br>
&gt; --<br>
&gt; Julius Charles Serrano<br>
&gt; Accessibility Specialist<br>
&gt; Catalyst IT Ltd<br>
&gt;
<a href="http://www.catalyst.net.nz/" eudora="autourl">
http://www.catalyst.net.nz<;/a><br>
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&gt;<br><br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 5<br><br>
Julius wrote: &quot;Generally, it is a good accessibility practice to
have an<br>
underline on <br>
each link.&quot;<br><br>
Julius, underlined links are more of a &quot;convention,&quot; which
means most<br>
sighted users are expecting that links will be underlined so it's
good<br>
practice to underline links if you want most users to quickly see
and<br>
identify links. <br><br>
But as Jodie said below, underlining or any other visual formatting of
links<br>
(like blue) is not made known to screen reader users. Their tools tell
them<br>
that it's a link, not that it's underlined.<br><br>
The underlining, however, might be helpful to low-vision users of
screen<br>
readers and other A.T. users, just as it would for full-vision
users.<br>
-<br>
Bevi Chagnon&nbsp; |&nbsp; <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
PubCom - Trainers, consultants, designers, and developers<br>
Print, Web, Acrobat, XML, eBooks, and Federal Section 508 <br>
- *&nbsp; It's our 30th Year!&nbsp; *<br><br>
-----Original Message-----<br>
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
[<a href="mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> " eudora="autourl">
mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> </a>] On Behalf Of Hoger,
Jodie<br>
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 11:25 PM<br>
To: WebAIM Discussion List<br>
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br><br>
Hi there. I am new to the list and have been watching closely. I am
not<br>
techy in the slightest - smile but am totally blind and use a screen
reader<br>
(window eyes by gw micro) and am passionate about universal design. From
my<br>
perspective, I usually tab from link to link or use the find feature
for<br>
links. Either way, I do not get any feedback that a link is underlined
and<br>
in fact, until this discussion, was not aware that links were. I
would<br>
imagine for people with vision impairments, learning difficulties and
anyone<br>
else I suppose that the common practice of an underline would assist in
the<br>
identification of the link. <br>
For me though, it makes no difference.<br>
I hope this feedback is useful. <br>
Best wishes,<br>
Jo<br><br>
&nbsp;Jodie Hoger<br>
Teacher Consultant (vision), Equity Services TAFE NSW - Illawarra
Institute,<br>
Building A, 60 Bienda St, Bomaderry, NSW, 2541 VOIP 54865| P 02 4421
9865| M<br>
0437 035 042| F 02 4421 9804| E <EMAIL REMOVED> |<br>
<a href="http://www.illawarra.tafensw.edu.au/" eudora="autourl">
www.illawarra.tafensw.edu.au<;/a><br><br>
<br><br>
<br>
-----Original Message-----<br>
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
[<a href="mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> " eudora="autourl">
mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> </a>] On Behalf Of Julius<br>
Charles Serrano<br>
Sent: Thursday, 24 May 2012 12:40 PM<br>
To: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
Subject: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br><br>
Hi everyone.<br><br>
Generally, it is a good accessibility practice to have an underline on
<br>
each link.<br><br>
Regarding this matter, I wanna ask, particularly the accessibility <br>
advocates here who are blind, is there a way to verify (non-visually)
<br>
that the links on a page are indeed underlined?<br><br>
I think for sighted accessibility advocates, this is not a problem. I
<br>
just wanna know if there is a way for blind advocates to verify that
<br>
links are underlined. Perhaps we can do this by looking at the code?
Any<br><br>
ideas?<br><br>
I think being able to verify this is necessary because sometimes web
<br>
developers tend to remove the underlines for whatever reason.<br><br>
Thanks everyone.<br><br>
Julius<br><br>
<br><br>
-- <br>
Julius Charles Serrano<br>
Accessibility Specialist<br>
Catalyst IT Ltd<br>
<a href="http://www.catalyst.net.nz/" eudora="autourl">
http://www.catalyst.net.nz<;/a><br>
Mail: <EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
Phone: +64 (4) 803-2436<br><br>
<a href="http://list.webaim.org/" eudora="autourl">
http://list.webaim.org/<;/a><br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 6<br><br>
Most screen readers do have a way to check the characteristics of a word
or letter.&nbsp; You can use a screen reader to get feedback that
includes the font type, font size, colour, and whether or not the text is
underlined, bolded, or italicized.<br>
It is a feature I only use rarely myself--and only if I am wanting to
verify the visual appearance of something.&nbsp; Like others have
remarked, if it is marked up like a link then the screen reader will
state it is a link no matter that it looks like.&nbsp; Even if someone
makes it look like a button, the screen reader will still call it a
link--which reminds me of the time I spent about 10 minutes trying to
register on a site because it instructed me to click the red register
button and my screen reader kept telling me that there was no buttons to
be found anywhere on the page.<br><br>
As far as the other comments on this issue...&nbsp; If it is going to
work like a link, it is probably easiest for the users if it looks like a
link.&nbsp; You might be able to make it look different from the default
link appearance, but then you need to ensure that someone is going to
look at it and realize that they can interact with it--and not make them
have to wave the mouse pointer over the page to figure out which elements
they can interact with. If the user has to move the mouse pointer over
the element or click on it to know they can interact with it, then you
have just increased the likelihood that the user will miss the
interaction.&nbsp; So, a link might not always have to look like a link,
but it should always be obvious that the user can interact with it.&nbsp;
Well, unless your goal is to make the UI tricky to use which I suppose
could always be someone's goal.<br><br>
<br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 7<br><br>
My 2 cents...<br><br>
The underline is generally a usability feature - not an
accessibility<br>
feature. As others have stated, links should stand out in some way from
the<br>
rest of the design (the exception may be when you have a menu bar with
lots<br>
of links). Personally, I still like links to be blue and
underlined!<br><br>
For folks with low vision or mobility issues, perhaps a more
important<br>
usability feature is to ensure that&nbsp; whenever a link has
&quot;focus&quot; it can be<br>
clearly distinguished from the rest of the background. The browser
will<br>
generally do this in some fashion (usually a dotted box around the
link)<br>
unless the CSS has turned this off (something CMS themes and template
are<br>
notorious for doing). If I can, I will often modify the design to change
the<br>
attributes of the link when the focus is on that link (underline to<br>
no-underline, no-underline to underline, color to different color,
no<br>
background color to contrasting background color). But in looking at some
of<br>
my sites, I haven't always practiced what I preach. <br><br>
What techniques do others use?<br><br>
~j<br><br>
John E. Brandt<br>
<a href="http://www.jebswebs.com/" eudora="autourl">www.jebswebs.com</a>
<br>
<EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
207-622-7937<br>
Augusta, Maine, USA<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 8<br><br>
As John noted, the method of&nbsp; link identification is a usability
issue. From my observations of people who are not technically savvy, if
it's not underlined, there is a high probability that a significant
number of people will not recognize it as a link. Anecdotally, my mother
wouldn't click on something because it wasn't underlined, my assurances
that it was a link and the cursor turning to a hand
notwithstanding.<br><br>
For Julius's original question, Jared's suggestion is the best I can
think of.<br><br>
sb<br><br>
Sarah E. Bourne<br>
Director of Assistive Technology &amp;<br>
Mass.Gov Chief Technology Strategist<br>
Information Technology Division<br>
Commonwealth of Massachusetts<br>
1 Ashburton Pl. rm 1601 Boston MA 02108<br>
617-626-4502 <br>
<EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
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<br>
From: Oscar DeLong &lt; <EMAIL REMOVED> &gt;<br>
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Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 10:26:39 -0500<br>
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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br>
Message: 9<br><br>
I just want to make one comment.&nbsp; I know some have said that blue
and underlined is the convention and as such it may not be necessary
anymore to underline links.&nbsp; I would argue the opposite.&nbsp; I
work with a wide variety of students, and a lot of them have very little
computer knowledge.&nbsp; A lot of our students actually get confused if
they do not see the underline.&nbsp; Links without underline get missed
as just colored text.&nbsp; In addition students tend to get confused
about pictures as links too.&nbsp; It seems that unless it is blue and
underlined they do not register it as a link at all. <br><br>
Just a thought.<br><br>
Oscar<br><br>
Oscar DeLong<br>
Associate Librarian<br>
Pulaski Technical College<br>
<EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
(501) 812-2718<br>
From: <EMAIL REMOVED>
[ <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of John E Brandt
[ <EMAIL REMOVED> ]<br>
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:01 AM<br>
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'<br>
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] underline on links, from the blind's
perspective<br><br>
My 2 cents...<br><br>
The underline is generally a usability feature - not an
accessibility<br>
feature. As others have stated, links should stand out in some way from
the<br>
rest of the design (the exception may be when you have a menu bar with
lots<br>
of links). Personally, I still like links to be blue and
underlined!<br><br>
For folks with low vision or mobility issues, perhaps a more
important<br>
usability feature is to ensure that&nbsp; whenever a link has
&quot;focus&quot; it can be<br>
clearly distinguished from the rest of the background. The browser
will<br>
generally do this in some fashion (usually a dotted box around the
link)<br>
unless the CSS has turned this off (something CMS themes and template
are<br>
notorious for doing). If I can, I will often modify the design to change
the<br>
attributes of the link when the focus is on that link (underline to<br>
no-underline, no-underline to underline, color to different color,
no<br>
background color to contrasting background color). But in looking at some
of<br>
my sites, I haven't always practiced what I preach.<br><br>
What techniques do others use?<br><br>
~j<br><br>
John E. Brandt<br>
<a href="http://www.jebswebs.com/" eudora="autourl">www.jebswebs.com</a>
<br>
<EMAIL REMOVED> <br>
207-622-7937<br>
Augusta, Maine, USA<br><br>
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