Navigation and links are the features that make the web such a pervasive medium. Almost any web site will employ the use of navigational links - either within the same web document, within the same web site, or to another web site.

Links that are used for main navigation do not require underlining, though they must be distinguishable by other means; for example, colour, border styles (i.e., placing a "box" around related links in a sidebar, or other area) and placement on the page.

Navigation Standards

Standard #1

Links within the body of Queen's University web pages must be underlined and a different colour than the surrounding text.

Standard #2

Links used for navigation should be links in an unordered list. They must be distinguishable from the other text on the page.

More on Navigation & Hyperlinks

Navigation and Accessibility

In terms of Web site navigation, accessibility and usability concerns are generally similar. Usability recommendations that are of particular concern to the accessibility community include the following:

  • HTML navigation is generally recommended over Flash and Javascript navigation because it is generally easier to test for accessibility and easier for screen reader users.
  • Use Heading tags <h1>, <h2> etc. to mark major divisions on the menu, including side menus.
  • Be sure that the navigation scheme is consistent across the Web site. This helps users form a mental map of the site and also allows those on a screen reader to more efficiently navigate a Web site.
  • It is a good idea to include a Skip Navigation strategy so users, especially those on a screen reader, can skip large blocks of repetitive links. The WebPublish system used by Queen's employs this strategy.
  • Navigational icons can be beneficial for some learning disabled users, but icons for less-common functions should also include a text label. Images of icons for common functions such as "print" or "next" should include an ALT tag.
  • Be sure that navigational elements are legible to low vision users in terms of font face, font size and colour contrast.
  • Ensure dropdown menus are accessible to users on screen readers and to motion impaired users.
  • A sitemap may assist all visitors to your site as well as screen reader users.