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Hyperlinking all text



5:32 am on May 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have a question about hyperlinking and any potential issues with usability and/or accessibility.

Here's the scenario:
There's a list of items. Each has a headline, some descriptive text and a call to action link. Example below:

This is the description
View more details >

Now, instead of just the "View more details >" (which has its own set of usability/accessibility problems?) as a hyperlink, the headline and the description text are also hyperlinked. All to the same location

What issues, if present, are there? Also, what about having more than five of these items with everything linked?

Any sources that I could cite?

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.


10:20 am on May 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

No sources, but you can usually find something here [useit.com].

I find a great deal of accessibility and usability is just plain common sense, starting with "Would I use it? I mean, really use it?"

That will get you 90% of the way there.

In this case, I'd either hotlink only the "More Details" link (using a decent "title" attribute text), or eschew the "More Details" link and hotlink the title.

Many sites do support the whole thing, but in more of a "clickable image" type of thing, like ads. I'm not a big fan of this, because I think links should look like links.

Links are inherently less readable than plain text. A link should stand out (I use underlines whenever possible, often to sneering remarks of "visually primitive.") Text that stands out is often not so readable, so you don't want people straining to read the information they need to decide whether or not to click.

Just my $0.02.


2:24 pm on May 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

daferret808 how are your

This is the description
View more details >

presented/coded on the page?

I have had a 'similar' issue with a site I built a couple of months ago and I did the following - not sure if it's recommended but anyway:

<div id="mydiv">
This is the description
View more details <span> about the headline product</span> >

And then I

  • added some javascript using window.onload and getElementById('mydiv') where I have one onmouseover event with background color and one onclick event with a link, so if anyone with js hovers over the div they get an 'response' and anyone who clicks the div go to the same url as my link. People with js disabled just don't see anything.
  • have the #mydiv span{} with a left:-999em in the css to 'hide' it but still have it read by screen readers.
  • jtara

    3:31 pm on May 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

    I think a lot depends depends on what the items are. Would a user think to click on the text or headline for more details?

    Are you linking to one thing, or two things? If you are only linking to the full article, I would think it's more clear to make the headline linkable, but not the partial body.

    This looks like the typical CMS scenario today. Actually, I hate teasers where you have to click on a link to read the whole story. But it's a currently-popular style.

    You might try using something like [...] as a link instead of "click to read more". Or you might explain in one place that users can click on headlines to see the full stories.

    Users will PROBABLY get it if you make the headline clickable, and end the summary with "..." (clickable or not).

    Finally, "more" is pretty unobtrusive, and gets right to the point.


    6:32 pm on May 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member

    Thank you for your feedback all!

    To clarify the presentation (which are lists of special offers), the headline is larger in size and colored, the body text is in gray and default font-size and the "view more details >" is set to our hyperlink color.

    It was told to me that it was best practice to "link it all". I've seen headlines and call to action links hyperlinked but never saw body text hyperlinked unless it was a graphic/banner ad like cmarshall mentioned. It concerned me if there would be any accessibility or usability issues if we did this because basically the entire page is just filled with these items and that'd make everything on the page hyperlinked.


    1:14 am on May 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member

    In the Accessibility basics thread [webmasterworld.com], encyclo mentions that

    ... screenreaders often offer a function to read out just a list of links on the page rather than the whole page text. This provides a useful shortcut for users trying to navigate through the site quickly.

    So what you describe would defeat the purpose of the above functionality. It only affects screenreaders, but you did ask about accessibility. :)


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