Web links are important to creating the connections that make up the world wide web. They allow you to refer to an article, a video or even software that you can use on your computer. Sharing web links is just a part of how we live our lives on the internet. But it is good to know the best practices for how to make web links so that they help inform the reader of what it is linking to if they are reading your content or using a screen reader to have your content dictated to them.

Raw URLs

URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) are the web address that you use in the top bar of your internet browser. Some can be short like https://ccaps.umn.edu. Some can be longer and more complicated as shown image below.

The image depicts a long URL to an article. It doesn't look good and is irritating to listen to on screen readers.


Visually, this looks very busy. On a page with a bunch of links, it can make your page cluttered and hard to scan. This can be even more problematic for screen readers. The following video will demonstrate the the same URL shown above being read by a screen reader as well as the same link properly formatted being read by a screen reader.

What Can You Do?

When making links we suggest making links that:

  • Use the exact title of the page or article.
  • If there is a section of a sentence that describes what the link is going to, that is acceptable as well.
  • Don't make links that lack context about it's destination like "Click here", "here", or "read more".
  • Avoid repeating the same link in a page. The link should only be on the page only once. This is because when screen-readers read out the list of all the links on the page, the mention of the same link multiple times may cause confusion with wondering if they go to the different locations or not. Also navigating through a page with tons of links on a keyboard can be tedious and tiring for the user where that is their only method of interacting with the page. 
  • When emphasizing a section of text on the web, use bolds rather than underlines since underlined text has the visual association with web-links.

How Do I Properly Add Links?

To add links in Canvas, we have tutorials depending on what you want to link to:

In most circumstances, if you are in a rich content editor, highlight the text selection you want to link and find a link icon (usually shown as a chain) or press Ctrl+K. A menu usually appears with a text field that shows the selected text and a text field for your URL. After copy and pasting the URL in the proper text field click on the button to accept the change and you have made your web link!

To learn more, check out Accessible U's Links page or watch the video made by Khaled Musa on accessible links.