Annual Report of the Information Commissioner 2016

Links and Microcontent

Write descriptive links to help your readers

Hyperlinks (links) are typically created by pasting in a URL and pressing the space button. Edit these links to make them easier to understand for your readers by providing descriptors.

Note: If a document or content is to be printed, you may wish to use the full URL and a description in the link text.

The following guidance is recommended when providing links:

  • Link descriptions should be short but descriptive. It should typically be between two and five words long.
  • Provide useful information about the link. For example, file size, and format.
  • Link descriptions should describe the target that they link to.
  • Link descriptions should avoid ‘click here’ type terminology
  • Link descriptions should occur naturally in the sentence.
  • Links can be presented in the text of a page or separately, such as at the end of the page.


Microcontent refers to small groups of words that can be scanned by the reader to get a clear idea of what is on a web page. Microcontent includes:

  • Captions for images: These provide the information required to help the reader understand the image in the context of the rest of the page.
  • Sub-headings: These are used to break up long passages of text and to provide signposts to readers who are scanning the page.
  • Headings: Use heading styles or tags correctly, so that it creates a structure that can be read using screen reader software. Do not create text that just looks like headings; for example, do not just increase the font size and weight of the text to create a heading.

Learn more

For further information, see Section 1 Written Communication, Accessible Formatting .

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