Version 8.0.0

Link

Links allow users to navigate to a different location. They can be presented inside a paragraph or as standalone text.

Image illustrating the use of links in text. The text reads "See our Privacy Policy for more details or to opt-out at ant time" with "Privacy Policy" hyperlinked.Image illustrating the use of links in text. The text reads "See our Privacy Policy for more details or to opt-out at ant time" with "Privacy Policy" hyperlinked in mobile view.

Options#


An example of using a primary link in text to call attention to the link. Text says, "If you look at any designer you admire, whose work inspires you, and whose approach somehow resonates with you, I promise you'll find a person who does not think of what they do as just a job." "find a person" is highlighted in Spectrum blue and underlined to present a link.

Primary variant#

The primary link is the default variant and is blue. This should be used to call attention to the link and for when the blue color won’t feel too overwhelming in the experience.

An example of using a secondary link in text to call attention to the link. Text says, "If you look at any designer you admire, whose work inspires you, and whose approach somehow resonates with you, I promise you'll find a person who does not think of what they do as just a job." "find a person" is underlined in the same gray color as the text to present a secondary link.

Secondary variant#

The secondary variant is the same gray color as the paragraph text. Its subdued appearance is optimal for when the primary variant is too overwhelming, such as in blocks of text with several references linked throughout.

An example of static color white and black links. Example text says “Learn more” for variants standard and quiet.

Static color#

Use the static color option when a link needs to be placed on top of a color background or visual. Static color links are available in black or white, regardless of color theme. They can also be placed on top of a custom background that isn’t part of a Spectrum color theme.

Use static black on light color or image backgrounds, and static white on dark color or image backgrounds, regardless of color theme. Make sure that the background and the link color meet the minimum color contrast ratio.

An example of using quiet links in text to call attention to a link. Example text says, “Start trial” for primary links, “Help center” for secondary links, “Learn more” for static color links in white, and “Show all” for static color links in black.

Quiet#

All links can have a quiet style, without an underline. This style should only be used when the placement and context of the link is explicit enough that a visible underline isn’t necessary.

Quiet links are less accessible, so don't use them for links that are critical to an experience. Quiet links are commonly used in website footers, where there are several lists of links that are shortcuts to other pages.

Table of options#

From the design point of view, each component has a number of options. These options and their names are platform agnostic, and each implementation should adapt these to fit into their framework.

PropertyValuesDefault Value
variant
primary / secondary
primary
is quiet
yes / no
no
static color
none / white / black
none

Behaviors#


Key example of link in Windows “high contrast black” theme with label “Link text”.

Windows high contrast mode#

In Windows high contrast mode, links should be displayed using the windows high contrast theme-specified colors for link text. When placed over a background or image, links have the default theme background color.

Link (Windows high contrast mode) UI kit

Usage guidelines#


Links are for usage in body copy and are not appropriate in titles. Consider using a different component if you're looking for a larger or more prominent call to action, such as a button.

Key example showing correct usage of links in body copy. Text states Make it. Creative Cloud. it's everything you need to create, collaborate, and get inspired. Learn more about Creative Cloud. "Learn more about Creative Cloud." is using a secondary link.
Key example showing incorrect usage of links in body copy. Text states Make it. Creative Cloud. int he header and, "It's everything you need to create, collaborate, and get inspired. Learn more about Creative Cloud." in the body copy. "Creative Cloud" In the header is hyperlinked.

Support screen readers#

Be mindful of link placement and language, and create experiences that are inclusive of users navigating with screen readers. Screen readers pull a list of links — only the link text, and not including other surrounding language — to determine the content of the page.

People using screen readers may tab between links without getting the text in between, so very generic link wording like “learn more” or “click here” doesn’t communicate any context from elsewhere in the experience. Identify the target of each link directly in the link text to communicate context and set clear expectations about where the link will go.

Learn more about how to draw.

Click here to learn how to draw.

Content standards#


Standalone links are not full sentences, and do not have punctuation at the end. Treat these like calls-to-action by writing them as short verb phrases.

Since standalone links are at the end of a sentence or paragraph, they’re often perceived by users as optional or supplementary to surrounding content.

To continue, you’ll need to create your first audience segment. Learn about audience segments

To continue, you’ll need to create your first audience segment. Audience segments.

Links within — or as — sentences are written just like they’re part of a paragraph. Make sure you include enough context in the link text to communicate the value and expectation of the landing experience.

This approach can draw a user’s focus to the linked text, such as for need-to-know updates or high-signal information. If the link leads to more content, it can be helpful to write it as a descriptive noun (e.g., “survey feedback”). If the link launches a task or action, start it with a verb (e.g., “Share your feedback”).

Keep in mind that it’s easier to localize links that are entire sentences, rather than sentence fragments. This is because, depending on which part of a sentence is included as a link, the word and link order may be re-arranged when translated.

Try adjusting audience segment criteria to optimize for particular parameters.

Try adjusting audience segment criteria to optimize for particular parameters.

Avoid generic language#

Avoid overly generic link language like “learn more,” “click here,” “more information,” or “continue reading.” It’s more accessible and inclusive to write link text as unique descriptions of the navigational target or function.

Links need to be descriptive enough that they make sense without any other context. Generic links don’t make sense out of context, and don’t communicate where they go or what happens if a user interacts with them. Unique link language is essential for screen reader and magnification users who may not have the supplementary language around a link, or may not follow the content order of an experience.

Try to avoid using a series of generic, standalone links that say “learn more” at the end of multiple sentences or paragraphs as a truncation strategy.

To continue, you’ll need to create your first audience segment. Learn about audience segments


To continue, you’ll need to create your first audience segment.

To continue, you’ll need to create your first audience segment. Learn more

Links act as wayfinding tools that offer contextual clues about how to navigate an experience. Write link text so that, even if someone were not able to view any surrounding context, they could still understand a link’s purpose and what they should expect by interacting with it. Try to front load the link with the most important word(s).

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Dataset properties

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Be conscious about repetition#

Don’t use the same link text to link to different information in the same view. If link text needs to be duplicated within a single page or view, find ways to make each link unique, such as using accessibility labels or other text alternatives.

It’s OK to incorporate multiple links into the same sentence as long as the links are contextual and relevant. Do not overload sentences and pages with links purely for SEO purposes.

Try the tutorial for creating a set of audience segments if you’re interested in learning about advanced workflows

Try the tutorial for creating a set of audience segments if you’re interested in learning about advanced workflows.

Create intuitive landing experiences#

Don’t place a generic “Learn more” link in design specs without thinking through what happens when a user interacts with that link. The landing experience needs to work in partnership with how the link text is written. Identify exactly where that link will go or what it will do, then ensure the link text reflects that.

Use anchor links whenever possible to ensure that users can quickly find the most helpful next steps after interacting with a link. Collaborate with help content writers or customer service representatives to determine the most natural and intuitive content to supplement your experience.

Diagram illustrating an intuitive landing experience. A link, text Audience segments workflow, goes to a page titled Creating audience segments.

Keyboard interactions#


KeyInteraction
EnterExecutes the link and moves the focus to the link target.

Changelog#


DateNumberNotes
Apr 06, 20228.0.0
  • Updated all colors to 6.0.0
Jan 27, 20227.0.0
  • Added static color option (removed "over background" variant)
Aug 13, 20196.0.0
  • Changed “standard/quiet” to “primary” and “secondary” variants
  • Added quiet as an option
Apr 20, 20195.0.0
  • This component is now individually versioned (individual versions of existing components start at 5.0.0)

Design checklist#


All interactive states

Includes all interactive states that are applicable (hover, down, focus, keyboard focus, disabled).

All color themes

Works properly across all four color themes (lightest, light, dark, darkest).

All platform scales

Includes a desktop scale (UWP, macOS, web desktop) and a mobile scale (iOS, Android, web mobile).

N/A

Accessible use of color

Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information (WCAG 2.0 1.4.1).

Accessible contrast for text

Text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for small text and at least 3:1 for large text (WCAG 2.0 1.4.3).

N/A

Accessible contrast for UI components

Visual information required to identify components and states (except inactive components) has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 (WCAG 2.1 1.4.11).

Content design

UI language and information design considerations have been incorporated into component design.

Defined options

Includes relevant options (variant, style, size, orientation, optional iconography, decorations, selection, error state, etc.)

Defined behaviors

Includes guidelines for keyboard focus, layout (wrapping, truncation, overflow), animation, interactions, etc.

Usage guidelines

Includes a list of dos and don'ts that highlight best practices and common mistakes.

Writing guidelines

Includes content standards or usage guidelines for how to write or format in-product content for the component.

N/A

Internationalization guidelines

Works properly across various locales and includes guidelines for bi-directionality (RTL).

Keyboard interactions

Follows WCAG 2.0 standards for keyboard accessibility guidelines and includes a description of the keyboard interactions.

Design tokens

All design attributes (color, typography, layout, animation, etc.) are available as design tokens.

UI kit

Includes a downloadable XD file that shows multiple options, states, color themes, and platform scales.

Generated UI kit

Includes a downloadable XD file, generated by code using design tokens defined in Spectrum DNA, and shows multiple options, states, color themes, and platform scales.

In Spectrum for Adobe XD plugin

Component is included in the Spectrum for Adobe XD plugin.