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Re: Are links should underline all the time?

From: Corey Collins <ccollins@usc.edu.au>
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2017 22:43:39 +0000
To: Kiran <kiranph@gmail.com>, w3c WAI List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <3E51B897-E007-44C8-BA2D-CB56B1D3C4C5@usc.edu.au>
Hi Kiran

My understanding, and I am happy to be corrected, is if you have sufficient contrast between your link colour and your background colour (Success Criterion 1.4.3 and 1.4.6), plus sufficient contrast between your body text and link text colour (3:1), you can provide a link with no underline as long as there is an additional differentiation (underline) when the link receives hover/focus.

Further detail: G183: Using a contrast ratio of 3:1 with surrounding text and providing additional visual cues on focus for links or controls where color alone is used to identify them<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/G183.html>
Example 1: Colors that would provide 3:1 contrast with black words and 4.5:1 contrast with a white background
Refer to Links with a 3:1 contrast ratio with surrounding text<https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/Techniques/working-examples/G183/link-contrast.html>

If in doubt, the preferred technique is to use underlines for links.

I’m not a fan of links with no underline in content but I have had an example at work, which I believe I could not fail and as a result, could not change the business owner’s decision. I’ll persist for a change anyway ☺

Hope that helps.


Corey Collins
Web Accessibility Specialist
Student Services and Engagement
Ph +61 7 5456 5383


University of the Sunshine Coast
CRICOS Provider No. 01595D

From: Kiran <kiranph@gmail.com>
Date: Saturday, 1 July 2017 at 4:46 am
To: w3c WAI List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Subject: Are links should underline all the time?
Resent-From: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Resent-Date: Saturday, 1 July 2017 at 4:47 am

Hey All,

I need expert advice in learning and more clarifying the concept of WCAG 1.4.1 Link treatment.

As per https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/F73.html , if links do not have underline or other visual cues will it be a failure?

so If I have added a link in the paragraph where body text is black while the link within this paragraph is blue ( enough CCR), will that be a failure to WCAG 1.4.1 if I don't provide underline to this link?

So does that mean, links should always be underlined in a paragraph or in a sentence?

I was under the assumption that if links have a different color, plus it shows underline(or any visual clue) on hover/focus, should be okay and passes WCAG 1.4.1.


I appreciate your opinion in clearing my confusion on this.

Thank you.
USC, Locked Bag 4, Maroochydore DC, Queensland, 4558 Australia.
CRICOS Provider No: 01595D
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