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Accessibility and Usability Forum

Adding title attribute to all links
Accessibility vs. spam

 1:29 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/accessibility_usability/3016094.htm [webmasterworld.com] by encyclo - 10:06 am on July 21, 2006 (utc -4)

I have a question for this if you were to comply and make your site more accessable for the hearing and seeing impared I would have to write a title for every link on the site.

ok lets say I have 70 links for the sake of ease and example

Blue Diamonds in the Link text ok I would need to put in the code

<a herf= "http // www mysite/products/111.htm" Title="Blue Diamonds">Blue Diamonds</a>

This would have the Box diplay a readable text for the software used to read the links.

This would create allot of extra hidden text in the code I know it is for a good reason but is there a possibility this would cause it to look like spam by the bot or filter.

or do you think this is actually a good way to add keywords in the text of a page for extra page optimization



 2:01 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

The title is not meant to be a duplication of the anchor text. It's supposed to provide additional information.

<a href="/somelink.html" title="Product Specifications for Blue Widgets" />blue widgets</a>


 3:50 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Also, if an image is used as the anchor text, the alt of the image is supposed to describe what information the image presents to a sighted user, while the title text provides information about where the link will send the user.

<a href="/widgets/index.html" title="Index Listing of all Available Widgets">
<img src="/pile-o-widgets.gif" alt="Assorted Widgets Stacked In a Pile" />


 10:34 am on Aug 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think if the anchor text is intelligently written, there is no general need for a title in a link.


 3:57 pm on Aug 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

True kiwibrit. There's no need to duplicate the anchor text in a title tag. If the title tag can't provide more information, then don't use it. :)


<a href="/widgets/" title="Click here to read about widgets">You can read our widgets page here</a>


 12:39 pm on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

There's a good article from Jakob Nielsen on this subject: Using Link Titles to Help Users Predict Where They Are Going [useit.com]

In short:
Do not add link titles to all links: if it is obvious from the link anchor and its surrounding context where the link will lead, then a link title will reduce usability by being one more thing users have to look at. A link title may be superfluous if it simply repeats the same text as is already shown in the anchor.

Adding a link title using the same anchor text is pointless: don't do this. There is no accessibility or usability benefit to seeing/hearing the same text twice.

Using a duplicate of the anchor text as the title will hinder usability and accessibility, not help.


 2:30 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

One should bear in mind that very often screen readers won't read the title attribute, so if you put anything too vital in there, many users won't hear it. I've got JAWS 6.x on it's original settings as installed and I don't hear title attributes, even when in <abbr> tags.

We've been trying to find a workaround for that as we've got some abbreviations that we need read out to JAWS users because it sounds incoherent as JAWS is reading it at the moment, but we can't just write the words out because it won't fit into the data table and would cause problems for some resolutions/monitor sizes. We're currently exploring synonyms.....


 3:01 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good point Mindy, and it should be noted that the Nielsen article above is misleading on this point, wrongly implying screen readers will read the title attribute text by default.

Digging deeper, I found another good read: The Title attribute - what is it good for? [sf.id.au] - a presentation by Steve Faulkner, Web Accessibility Consultant at Vision Australia.

For abbreviations, Faulkner recommends:
Include a title attribute, but also provide a plain text expansion the first time the acronym or abbreviation is used on the page.


 10:50 pm on Aug 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'd like to bring this thread back to life if i could.

Initially I was going to use the title tag on my text links in the navigation so that the links would be easily available to the visually impaired. But after reading this thread I have not done so because my anchor text was actually going to be the same as this title tag text. So i had a different thought that would hopefully make the title tag to this link more unique. "What If" i were to use the title from the next page that I am sending the person to as the title tag on this text link? It would be different from the anchor text, actually more descriptive and helpful at the same time.
Any thoughts on that?


 6:11 pm on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

any thoughts on this?


 8:19 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

sandyeggo - Just thought I'd mention that I found this interesting because the (old!) WYSIWYG program I use does this by default with navigation links, e.g., an arrow or "next" button that leads to the next page. So evidently someone thought it was worthwhile enough to build it into the program.

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