Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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ARIA8: Using aria-label for link purpose


Technologies that support Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA).

This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

See User Agent Support for WAI-ARIA for general information on user agent support.


The objective of this technique is to describe the purpose of a link using the aria-label attribute. The aria-label attribute provides a way to place a descriptive text label on an object, such as a link, when there are no elements visible on the page that describe the object. If descriptive elements are visible on the page, the aria-labelledby attribute should be used instead of aria-label. Providing a descriptive text label lets a user distinguish the link from links in the Web page that lead to other destinations and helps the user determine whether to follow the link. In some assistive technologies the aria-label value will show in the list of links instead of the actual link text.

Per the WAI-ARIA specification and the HTML to Platform Accessibility APIs Implementation Guide, the aria-label text will override the text supplied within the link. As such the text supplied will be used instead of the link text by AT. Due to this it is recommended to start the text used in aria-label with the text used within the link. This will allow consistent communication between users.


Example 1: Describing the purpose of a link in HTML using aria-label.

In some situations, designers may choose to lessen the visual appearance of links on a page by using shorter, repeated link text such as "read more". These situations provide a good use case for aria-label in that the simpler, non-descriptive "read more" text on the page can be replaced with a more descriptive label of the link. The words 'read more' are repeated in the aria-label (which replaces the original anchor text of "[Read more...]") to allow consistent communication between users.

 <h4>Neighborhood News</h4>
 <p>Seminole tax hike:  Seminole city managers are proposing a 75% increase in 
 property taxes for the coming fiscal year.
 <a href="taxhike.html" aria-label="Read more about Seminole tax hike">[Read more...]</a>

 <p>Baby Mayor:  Seminole voters elect the city's youngest mayor ever by voting in 3 year
 old Willy "Dusty" Williams in yesterday's mayoral election.
 <a href="babymayor.html" aria-label="Read more about Seminole's new baby mayor">[Read more...]</a>


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For link elements that use aria-label:

  1. Check that the value of the aria-label attribute properly describes the purpose of the link element.

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.