Christian Heilmann

What does adding empty links to a document do in terms of accessiblity?

Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 10:51 am

Over at the YUI blog, I managed to convince accessibility researcher and all-out good colleague Mike Davies to publish a research on how empty links in the document affect accessibility.

Why would you ever add empty links to a document? Well, it is part of a Microformat, in this case the include pattern. Over to Mike:

The Microformats group have created an include pattern which is a mechanism for including a portion of data from one area of a page into another area on the same page. Essentially, it’s a means of preventing the duplication of data.
A good example of this is a page that lists all the reviews done by one person. Instead of every review having to duplicate the reviewer details, we can use the include pattern to define the reviewer once, and include it into each review. No needless duplication.
The main technique being advocated as an include is the humble link, but in an effort to minimise duplication of content, the example is an empty link; a link with no link text:

So if you wondered about this microformat and accessibilty, go on over to the yuiblog and have a read.

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