Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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F73: Failure of Success Criterion 1.4.1 due to creating links that are not visually evident without color vision


Any technology.

This failure relates to:


The objective of this failure is to avoid situations in which people who cannot perceive color differences cannot identify links. Link underlines or some other non-color visual distinction are required. While some links may be visually evident from page design and context, such as navigational links, links within text are often visually understood only from their own display attributes. Removing the underline and leaving only the color difference for such links would be a failure because there would be no other visual indication (besides color) that it is a link.

Note 1: If the non-color cue only happens when the mouse hovers over the link or when the link receives focus, it is still a failure.

Note 2: If the link is a different color and bold it would not fail because the boldness is not color dependent.


Failure Example 1:

A Web page includes a large number of links within the body text. The links are styled so that they do not have underlines and are very similar in color to the body text. This would be a failure because users would be unable to differentiate the links from the body text.

Failure Example 2:

The following code is an example of removing the underline from a link in a sentence or paragraph without providing another visual cue besides color.

Example Code:

<style type="text/css">
p a:link {text-decoration: none}
p a:visited {text-decoration: none}
p a:active {text-decoration: none}
p a:hover {text-decoration: underline; color: red;}


<p>To find out more about the <a href="rain_in_spain.htm">rain in spain</a>there are many resources.</p>


Note: If the visual cue is only provided on hover (as in the example above), it would still fail.

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  1. Check that each link within text that is part of a sentence or paragraph (or other area where they could be mistaken as non-linked text) in the page is underlined or otherwise visually identifiable (i.e., bolded, italicized) as a link without relying on color (hue).

Expected Results