Links and Buttons

☑ Don’t set links to open in a new window.

The default behavior for links is to open in the same window. In the majority of cases, the behavior should not be overridden to have links open in a new window. Setting links to open in a new window may cause accessibility issues and eliminates the ability of users to control the activity.

☑ Link labels should be unique and descriptive (they should clearly tell users where they’re going).

Many users scan web pages for links to help figure out where to go next. Link labels should clearly indicate where the user is headed. Users of assistive technologies often browse web pages by only reading the link labels and not the text surrounding it – so it’s important that they are unique and descriptive. Good link labels also help search engines find your content.

Do: Use descriptive but concise language

Try the U of I Catalog.

For more information, see our guide to Assistive Technology.
⊗ Don't: use “naked” link labels

Try the U of I Catalog:
⊗ Don’t use generic link labels
Additional information about our assistive technology can be found here
Read more about this project.
⊗ Don’t use extraneous words in or around the links.

Click here to access the U of I Catalog.

Click here to access the U of I Catalog.
⊗ Don’t have multiple link labels that say the same thing but go to different places.

Try this website or this website.

→Tip: imagine the link out of context – is the destination clear?

Also, make sure there aren’t extra spaces before or after the text that get selected when making the link that will result in an extension of the link underline.
For more information, see our guide to Assistive Technology.

☑ Email links should show actual email address.

Clicking on a mailto link will typically launch an email app  – but for users who use webmail instead, it can cause confusion or just makes it hard to figure out what the email address is.

DO display the full email address and make it clickable.

Contact Suzanne Chapman at
⊗ Don’t hide an email address behind text or a name

Contact me
Suzanne Chapman

☑ Buttons should have action-oriented & descriptive labels.

(not generic labels that might not make sense out of context)

  • Yes: “Give Feedback”
  • No: Go