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Re: Meta Infos necessary in links?


From: Wolfgang Berndorfer
Date: Feb 24, 2019 12:04PM

Seems, everything is said, so I try to sum up. Thanks to Glen and Birkir for

1) Link-types to consider for meta info indication
a) Link to external website.
b) Linked document is in foreign language.
c) Format of the linked document (PDF / Excel / .)
d) In-side link (Link to an ID on the same side.)
e) Link opens new window (target="_blank")

2) Requirements according to WCAG

Meta info for a link is an issue of usability, not accessibility according
to WCAG. SC 2.4.4 (and AAA-conformance 2.4.9) ask for link text to be
meaningful in context or even alone. But this doesn't imply meta info

Tech H30 says in example 6 that no meta info is necessary:


If an icon is used to visually indicate meta info, it becomes a WCAG SC
1.1.1 (alt text) issue to indicate the same to users who can't see the

If an indicator for meta info is used, it should be used consistently among
the website according to SC 3.2.4 Consistent Identification (Conformance

For AAA conformance, 3.2.5 Change on Request might apply, especially for
links that open in a new window.

3) Usability considerations concerning meta info on links

Extra meta info on each link would be helpful for user experience (UX) and
further more for acceessiblity experience (AX).

An exception would be a table with links in a column, which is provided with
meta info from the column heading (th) already.

4) Open questions

The philosophy of WCAG is somehow: If everybody is made confused, it's no
discrimination, when AT-users get confused too. Should this philosophy be

Would visual indicators for in-side-links be helpful? JAWS provides the
information technically already.