Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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H81: Identifying the purpose of a link in a nested list using link text combined with the parent list item under which the list is nested



This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

Although the context information is programmatically associated with the link, assistive technology lacks commands for reading the parent list item without moving focus away from the link.


The objective of this technique is to describe the purpose of a link in a nested list from the context provided by the list item under which the list is nested. This list item provides context for an otherwise unclear link. The description lets a user distinguish this link from links in the Web page that lead to other destinations and helps the user determine whether to follow the link.

Because current assistive technologies do not include commands to query contextual information provided by parent list items, use of this technique requires users to navigate the list one item at a time. Therefore, this technique may not be appropriate for very long or deeply nested lists.

Note: Whenever possible, provide link text that identifies the purpose of the link without needing additional context.


Example 1: A document provided in three formats

Example Code:

<li>Annual Report 2005-2006
  <li><a href="annrep0506.html">(HTML)</a></li>
  <li><a href="annrep0506.pdf">(PDF)</a></li>
  <li><a href="annrep0506.rtf">(RTF)</a></li>
<li>Annual Report 2006-2007
  <li><a href="annrep0607.html">(HTML)</a></li>
  <li><a href="annrep0607.pdf">(PDF)</a></li>
  <li><a href="annrep0607.rtf">(RTF)</a></li>

Example 2: Blocks of information on hotels

The information for each hotel consists of the hotel name, a description and a series of links to a map, photos, directions, guest reviews and a booking form.

Example Code:

<li><a href="royal_palm_hotel.html">Royal Palm Hotel</a>
  <ul class="horizontal">
    <li><a href="royal_palm_hotel_map.html">Map</a></li>
    <li><a href="royal_palm_hotel_photos.html">Photos</a></li>
    <li><a href="hroyal_palm_hotel_directions.html">Directions</a></li>
    <li><a href="royal_palm_hotel_reviews.html">Guest reviews</a></li>
    <li><a href="royal_palm_hotel_book.html">Book now</a></li>
<li><a href="hotel_three_rivers.html">Hotel Three Rivers</a>
  <ul class="horizontal">
    <li><a href="hotel_three_rivers_map.html">Map</a></li>
    <li><a href="hotel_three_rivers_photos.html">Photos</a></li>
    <li><a href="hotel_three_rivers_directions.html">Directions</a></li>
    <li><a href="hotel_three_rivers_reviews.html">Guest reviews</a></li>
    <li><a href="hotel_three_rivers_book.html">Book now</a></li>


No resources available for this technique.



For each link in the content that uses this technique:

  1. Find the ul or ol element that contains the link

  2. Check that this list element (ul, ol) is a descendant of an li element

  3. Check that the text of the link combined with the text of that li element 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.