Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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H33: Supplementing link text with the title attribute



This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

See User Agent Support Notes for H33.


The objective of this technique is to demonstrate how to use a title attribute on an anchor element to provide additional text describing a link. The title attribute is used to provide additional information to help clarify or further describe the purpose of a link. If the supplementary information provided through the title attribute is something the user should know before following the link, such as a warning, then it should be provided in the link text rather than in the title attribute.

Because of the extensive user agent limitations in supporting access to the title attribute, authors should use caution in applying this technique. For this reason, it is preferred that the author use technique C7: Using CSS to hide a portion of the link text (CSS) or H30: Providing link text that describes the purpose of a link for anchor elements.


Example 1: Clarifying the purpose of a link

Example Code:

<a href="" 
   title="Read more about failed elephant evacuation">
   Evacuation Crumbles Under Jumbo load

Example 2: A link that opens in a new window

In HTML 4.01 the target="_blank" attribute can be used on an anchor element to indicate that the URI specified by the href attribute will be opened in a new window. This example shows using the title attribute of the anchor element to provide information that the link will be opened in a new window.

Example Code:

<a href="" 
     title="link opens in new window">
     Subscribe to email notifications about breaking news


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Examine the source code for anchor elements.

  1. For each anchor element that has a title attribute, check that the title attribute together with the link text describes the purpose of the link.

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.