Anchors must only be used as links with valid URLs or URL fragments
Anchor links must be used with valid URLs or URL fragments so that they are discernible by a screen reader.
The Algorithm, in Simple Terms
Ensures that every anchor link is used as a link with a valid URL or URL fragment
Why this is Important
Inaccessible link elements pose great barriers to accessibility, as they are a fundamental component of a website.
Users who rely exclusively on a keyboard (and no mouse) to navigate a webpage can only click on links that can receive programmatic focus. If a link cannot receive programmatic focus, it will be inaccessible to these users.
Like sighted users, screen reader users need to know where a link is pointing. Inner link text provides this information, though it won't be very useful if a screen reader can't access it.
Keyboard users — such as blind screen reader users or people who cannot use a mouse due to tremors in their hands — can activate only the links and form elements that can receive programmatic focus. They cannot activate anything that cannot receive programmatic focus. If there are any events that are activated exclusively by the other types of focus — for example
onmouseover events that depend on the mouse hover focus — those events will be inaccessible to keyboard users. By default, only links and form elements receive keyboard focus. Other elements can be modified to receive focus by adding
How to Fix the Problem
Best Practice: Give Links a Valid Destination (Using the
Provide a valid link destination in the
href="#". The "#" symbol is used as a "fragment identifier separator", which means its intended purpose within the
href attribute is to precede a string of text which identifies a fragment within the page (a named anchor or an ID on the page). The use of "#" as the hypertext reference essentially means that the anchor points to nothing. In some browsers this may "point" to the entire document or to the top of the page, and this will cause an unexpected shift in focus.
Placing a link to another page in the href value:
Placing a link to an internal destination on the same page in the href value:
Leaving off the href attribute:
Placing nothing in the href attribute:
Placing "#" in the href attribute:
- HTML 4