The 7 Sins of Inaccessible Blogs

Glenda Watson Hyatt as a devil

Introducing seven of the most common yet easy-to-correct blog accessibility errors…

Sin 1: Using “Click Here”

Why is “Click Here” an Accessibility Sin?

Individuals with sight impairments using text-to-speech screen readers can have the software scan for hypertext links. However, oftentimes, the destination of the hyperlink is difficult to determine.

Individuals with mobility impairments navigate using only the keyboard often use the Tab key to move from link to link. Simple yet meaningful link text allow individuals to choose the links they want to follow.

How to Absolve this Sin?

Write hypertext links that are informative when read out of context. For example, instead of writing “To download the ebook, click here” where “click here” is the hyperlink, consider writing “Download the ebook” where the three-worded phrase is the hyperlink.

If “Click here” is absolutely necessary as a call-to-action, consider writing “Click here to download the ebook” as the hyperlink.

For more tips and tricks on how to easily make you blog more accessible, check out the Blog Accessibility Mastermind.

16 Responses to The 7 Sins of Inaccessible Blogs
  1. Barbara
    October 27, 2010 | 2:09 pm

    I am mostly absolved of this sin. Mostly because when I hyperlink “here” it is always in reference to an image source.

    Is that still a venial sin, Glenda? ;)

    • Glenda
      October 28, 2010 | 1:25 pm

      Barbara, one-worded links can be equally uninformative. Watch for Sin #2 coming soon. You’ll be fully absolved in no time.

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  3. Adelaide Dupont
    October 28, 2010 | 6:56 pm

    It was good you covered this “sin” as it is one we can do easily without.

    And it’s good to have a phrase which covers everything.

    (I do add a paragraph of description before and after the link, or at least a sentence which shows what it’s about).

    Or probably add a number to each link so that the person can press a button. (This would work well with footnotes too).

  4. [...] week I began a post series entitled “The 7 Sins of Inaccessible Blogs” and I’ve relaunched Blog Accessibility Mastermind. If you’re curious how to make your blog [...]

  5. Richard
    October 29, 2010 | 9:27 am

    This is a tricky one – I agree with the principle but in terms of accessibility testing the rules have changed somewhat between WCAG 1.0 and WCAG 2.0 – in version one “click here” or “read more” for link text was a definite no-no but now those can quite easily pass the guidelines provided the information is “in context”, for example the sentence “For Product Catalogue, click here” where “click here” is the link text IS now allowed because it is clear from the context what the link refers to.

    • Glenda
      October 29, 2010 | 1:50 pm

      Richard, great point that WCAG 2.0 now let’s links like “click here” and “read more” go, if the link makes sense in context. That’s a Level A guideline, which I interpret to mean required for basic or a minimal level of accessibility. The guideline requiring links to be understandable from the link alone is a Level AAA guideline – a higher level of accessibility. Perhaps is it more desirable to aim higher rather than lower, where possible?

  6. Bob Easton
    October 30, 2010 | 3:27 am

    The problem with the latest WCAG A level guidance is that it fails to take into account a common facility found in screen readers. There are many shortcuts in screen readers to make it easier than re-listening to find something one remembers hearing.

    For example, CTRL+L in Jaws provides a list of links on the page, a very quick way to re-hear that link you missed the first time. It’s not helpful to hear a list that annouces, “click here, click here, read more, click here …”

    So, wile WCAG 2.0 level A allows for context, unless that context is actually coded as part of the link (a AAA requirement), the blind visitor still has the problem.

    So YES, aim for AAA level compliance.

    • Richard
      November 1, 2010 | 2:22 am

      I think the difficulty here for me is that the majority of the website accessibility testing that I do is at the AA level (which is generally considered good practice and likely to be good evidence of compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act here in the UK). Only a small percentage of the testing I have done over the last four years has required the AAA checkpoints.
      I quite agree with your point the links should be more helpful but when it comes to testing websites at level AA I have to give them a pass on this if they meet the contextual criteria. The problem is clearly that the guideline has become diluted from WCAG1.0 – the answer is probably to push for the AAA checkpoint for this to be promoted to AA level.

  7. Barbara
    October 31, 2010 | 6:49 pm

    I will need further translation in order to make use of what Bob said. Sorry. I am not native to this language.

  8. Bob Easton
    November 1, 2010 | 2:59 am

    Hi Barbara,
    Let me try a different explanation.

    Blind people listen to what is displayed on computers with software called screen readers. The screen reader software does exactly what its name says, reads aloud the screen contents.

    When reading web pages the screen reader voices changes when announcing a link, usually a change in gender. A man’s voice reading most of the material, a woman’s reading the links. This is configured by the user.

    Blind people often listen to the pages once quickly at a very high rate of speed, often 3-4 times faster than we can read aloud. That gives them the sense of the page. Then, if they want details, they will often use shortcuts to get to the details faster.

    One of the shortcuts causes only a list of links to be announced. Let’s imagine someone has made a page with the following paragraph (simulated links identified by words in quotes).

    Learn more about the event. To see pictures, “cllick here.” To listen to the presentations, “click here.” To see videos, “click here.”

    That paragraph meets the lowest level (level A) of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2 (WCAG 2.0). The repeated links are OK because they have context. They make sense and are differentiated when someone reads them.

    Except … When a blind person asks the screen reader to produce a list of links, only the link text is announced. For that paragraph, the blind person will hear “a list of links … 1 – click here 2 – click here 3 – click here.”

    The highest level of WCAG 2.0 is AAA and should be used for repeated links. It asks for more than simple context. Each link must be unique. So, let’s rewrite that paragraph for level AAA as follows.

    Learn more about the event. To see “pictures, cllick here.” To listen to the “presentations, click here.” To see “videos, click here.”

    With that simple change, the screen reader will announce, “a list of links … 1 – pictures, click here 2 – presentations, click here 3 – videos, click here.”


  9. Graham Armfield
    November 1, 2010 | 3:00 am

    Although fully meaningful links are strictly AAA it makes real sense to put the full link in for the screenreader reason mention by Bob above.

    Using techniques to hide text from sighted users but make it available to screenreader users can help here. You can put the verbose text in a hidden span and just have ‘Read more’ visible.

    Glenda, something like that would surely be useful for screenreader users on your own blog for all the links on this page that just say ‘Reply’.

  10. Blog Accessibility « AQ on the Edge
    November 2, 2010 | 1:05 pm

    [...] clipped from [...]

  11. [...] by using the example accessibility consultant Bob Easton kindly provided in the comment section of The 7 Sins of Inaccessible Blogs, consider this paragraph: Learn more about the event. To see pictures, “click here.” To listen [...]

  12. [...] Using “Click Here” [...]

  13. Barbara
    December 31, 2010 | 7:54 pm

    I have worked to absolve myself of this sin. Thank you, Glenda and Bob, for helping into the light! :)

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