Link and Button Name Communicates Purpose Decision Tree

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This page provides a decision tree to determine if links or buttons accessible names communicate purpose.

  • Links are required to communicate purpose (in context) WCAG 2.x SC 2.4.4 (does not apply to buttons)
  • Labels communicate communicate purpose WCAG 2.x SC 2.4.6
  • Buttons perform actions -- links navigate to locations (in the current page or another page).

Links

We are discussing the accessible name of links - the accessible name is calculated based on the accessible name computation (and includes content such as on-screen text, aria, etc.).

  • Links that are ambiguous to everyone are not required to have a meaningful name
  • Links purpose can take into account sentence, paragraph, list item, and table cells or associated table header cells (users with disabilities may still find a more clear purpose out of context useful though)
    • Headings are not taken into account
  • When determining purpose take the following into account
    • Visuals such as background that communicates association
    • Proximity that communicates association
    • Icons and graphics that communicate association
    • Uniqueness on the page -- when links go to different places
      • For example, a home links
      • If there were 2 home links on the page but they went to different places then the purpose would not be clear
      • It's okay if links have the same name but go to the same place

Buttons

  • Buttons usually are not in context -- except for perhaps in a table with interactive elements
  • When determining purpose take the following into account
    • Visuals such as background that communicates association
    • Proximity that communicates association
    • Icons and graphics that communicate association
    • Uniqueness on the page -- when button go to different places
      • For example, a logon button makes sense on a logon form
      • If there were 2 logon buttons on the page but they went to different places then the purpose would not be clear
      • It's okay if buttons have the same name but go to the same place