Course Accessability

Content Links

There are two(2) guidelines for links to URLs or content within digital materials:

  • Make sure links are recognizable.
  • Make sure link text makes sense on its own.

The following information outlines the meaning of these guidelines and how to accomplish them in Canvas.

Recognizable Links

There are two important factors to ensuring a link is recognizable.

  • make sure the hypertext appears in a different color consistently throughout the course
  • make sure the link, when activated appears underlined and/or highlighted to call attention to it.

Example: Refer to the student handbook for more information about Geisel policies.

Note that the link color is different from the surrounding text and that when the cursor finds the link that it becomes underlined and highlighted. See the Canvas example below to see how it should look within the learning management system.

Recognizing Links in Canvas

In Canvas, text with a hyperlink will appear blue (or another color as defined by the users browser settings). When the cursor rolls over the hyperlinked text, the text will be underlined and the cursor will change.

Descriptive Link Text

The most important feature of hyperlinks is that the description of the content available through the link it clear to the user. This is often referred to as “Human readable.” It is also important to inform the user if the link will open in a new window.

Good Examples:

Poor Examples:

Note that the last poor example is simply adding the url to the page. While this would seem appropriate, a screen reader will read the whole thing to the user which is difficult to follow.

Descriptive Links in Canvas

How descriptive a link within a Canvas page is relies on the individual designing the pages.

A bad example would be to simply place a link on the text describing the document type.
(Example: pdf)

A good example would be to write out the description of the content.
(Example: “Immunogobulin Lecture Notes”)


  • Links and Hypertext This webpage outlines the approaches to ensure accessible web and document links within digital content.