Self-Describing Hyperlinks

You can improve both the usability and accessibility of hyperlinks by embedding them in text and making them clear, concise, and meaningful out of context. Sighted users visually scan pages for links to help them find what they're looking for. People using screen readers can do the same thing: At the touch of a button, they can pull up a list of all the links on a page. As you learn more about links on this page, think about links that would be most useful to you in a list like that.

You should embed the hyperlink within other text. That is, instead of cutting and pasting the full text of a link, like this: (no)

Highlight the text you want to make into a hyperlink, and insert the link. In many applications, the shortcut for creating a hyperlink from text is simply control and K (or command and K on a Mac). Your embedded hyperlink will look like this:

Hyperlinks best practices (yes)

In this way, your writing will be more succinct and easier to scan. You also have the opportunity to use the text to describe where the link leads. And, adaptive technologies users won’t have to listen while their screen reader reads every single character of a URL.


Help your readers scan the hyperlink quickly to determine whether they want to click through and read it. Benefits of yoga is better than, "This page lists ways that yoga can improve your balance, muscle tone, strength, and heart health." The longer link is more likely to break across lines on the webpage or document, making it look like two hyperlinks. Plus, the longer link “gives away” some of the information your reader will find when they click through to your link. This may or may not be your intention.


You will improve the experience of all your readers when you take care to create embedded text that clearly explains what information your readers will find when they click on a hyperlink.

Musings on veganism is more descriptive than simply musings. Never make them have to click a link just to find out where it goes!

Source: University of Minnesota -