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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

Buttons must have discernible text

Updated: Jul 8

At Loud Interactive, during an SEO audit for our clients, we sometimes identify a critical accessibility issue regarding button elements on web pages. This problem revolves around buttons lacking discernible text, making it difficult for screen reader users to understand their purpose or function.

Why does this matter?

Because accessibility is not just a legal requirement in many jurisdictions but also an essential aspect of creating inclusive web experiences. Ensuring that buttons have discernible text enhances usability for users with visual impairments, who rely on screen readers to navigate and interact with web content.

How to Fix It

Here's how to address this issue:

  • Ensure Visibility to Screen Readers: Buttons must have inner text or be labelled using attributes like aria-label, aria-labelledby, or title to be accessible to screen reader users.

  • Avoid Common Mistakes: Avoid leaving buttons empty or using attributes incorrectly, as these practices fail accessibility checks.

For example, correct implementations could look like this:

  • A button with visible text: <button>Click me</button>

  • Using aria-label for invisible text: <button aria-label="Click me"></button>

  • Linking to an external label with aria-labelledby: <button aria-labelledby="labelID"></button><div id="labelID">Click me</div>

Incorrect patterns might include:

  • An empty button: <button></button>

  • Misusing the value attribute: <button value="Click me"></button> (not valid for <button> elements)

Why is this crucial? 

Screen reader users navigate the web differently from sighted users. If a button is not appropriately labeled, it creates a barrier, preventing these users from fully accessing or interacting with web content. It's not just about adhering to accessibility standards; it's about ensuring your website offers a seamless experience to all users, regardless of their physical abilities.

Learn More and Get Involved:

For those looking to dive deeper into making their web content accessible, Deque University offers comprehensive courses on accessibility (subscription required), covering topics from forms and labels to creating accessible navigation.

  • Resources: Check out Deque University's course pages on Labels, Group Labels, and Instructions for Inputs for detailed guidance.

  • Contribute: Join the effort to improve web accessibility by contributing to axe-core on GitHub.

Remember, making your website accessible is not just about compliance; it's about opening up your digital doors to everyone, ensuring all visitors can engage with your content effectively. At Loud Interactive, we're committed to helping our clients achieve the highest standards of web accessibility. For further assistance or to learn more about our services, visit Loud Interactive.



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