Links and buttons: Impact on users

Hajira is blind and uses a screen reader at home and at work.

It is important that she can work efficiently and one of the ways she does this is by asking her screen reader to display a list of links when a webpage loads.

When all the links are meaningful, it is easy for Hajira to follow them and access information quickly. If the links are not clear, such as ‘click here’ or ‘read more’, it is impossible for her to navigate in this way.

Name, role, value

Harry is an army veteran who lost both his hands in an explosion. He uses voice recognition software to use a computer and access the Internet.

When Harry opens a webpage, he skims through using the ‘scroll up’ and ‘scroll down’ commands. He activates links by saying ‘click link’ and buttons by saying ‘click button’.

If links and buttons are coded correctly, Harry can quickly and easily move between webpages and find the information they need. They find it particularly frustrating when something looks like a button but behaves like a link, as this takes them away from the information they are trying to interact with.

Consistent identification and navigation

Jackie has several cognitive impairments which make it difficult for them to learn to do tasks online.

Their support worker has spent a lot of time helping them practise navigating common features of webpages and they can now confidently use links, buttons and navigation menus.

Jackie uses software that reads the content out as they highlight it with their mouse, but is easily frustrated and gives up if content does not behave in a predictable manner.

Jackie is only confident to navigate a site if menus are always in the same order and if buttons that perform the same action are labelled consistently. If either of these is not the case, they are not able to understand it or they get too anxious and they have to wait until someone can help them.

This takes away their independence and can make them feel like a child.