OSCQR – Standard #37

OSCQR – Standard #37

Hyperlink text is descriptive and makes sense when out of context (avoid using “click here”).

Review These Explanations

Not all learners are using mice or other “clicking” devices to navigate the links displayed on your course pages. Also, “here” is irrelevant for learners using assistive devices, such as screen readers.

Screen readers provide learners with the ability to hear only the links that appear on a page. Should a learner come across a page with “click here” used for every link, there would be no context related to any implied action to take in the course, and the learner would need to read through the entire page each time to access a specific link.

Links need to clearly explain where they are taking users, and should be described by using concrete (or proper) nouns or action verbs. Concrete nouns refer to something you can see, smell, taste, hear or touch. For example, Instead of “click here” to indicate a link to the library, the hyperlink can be assigned directly to the word “library.”

Action verbs let your learners know that they are doing something that is part of their learning pathway in an online course. “Subscribe to the Harvard Business Review” provides more information and more clearly directs them to an action required, in place of “click here” to subscribe.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Use the name of the destination page as your link text.
  • Associate every link with an action you want learners to take, and then revise your link text to match those actions.
  • Consider mapping each course link to a learning objective, and use that language to guide learner actions through those links.
  • Usability studies show that users catch their eyes on the first two words of a link, so start your links with the most important words for learners to follow.

Explore Related Resources

This explanation provides more information on the value of using direct language for links to promote effective navigation.
The W3C QA Tips are short documents explaining useful bits of knowledge for Web developers or designers, hosted and produced by the Quality Assurance Interest Group at W3C. This tip explores alternatives for “click here.”

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

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