Use of the title Attribute

I try to keep up with accessibility issues so that the content I provide is always as friendly as possible. With this in mind, I’ve used the title attribute for links and wherever else it might be needed for many years now. At one time, the title attribute was actually mandated to make pages accessible by organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The attribute also makes an appearance in a number of my books, such as Accessibility for Everybody: Understanding the Section 508 Accessibility Requirements with full documentation as to the benefits of using it.

However, today I find myself having to take a new direction and actually tell people not to use the title attribute because it could potentially make pages less accessible. Part of the reason that the title attribute isn’t used anymore is that some people became confused about it and started using it for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) uses and that was never the point.

That being said, I am always fascinated by the ways in which people are adapting to make the online content on their websites more search engine friendly. It is especially important for businesses competing in competitive industries like CBD to try to do this. This CBD marketing guide will testify to how supremely significant this is. Without a doubt, in the digital age, optimizing your content for search engines is crucial. Competition online is fierce, and we all search for things online these days. This is particularly true on a local level. For example, recently, I have been using a Local SEO Checklist to ensure that I am doing as much as possible to help my website climb through the search result rankings. Targeting potential readers and customers in your area is so important, especially if there are other businesses that provide similar services in your area. Consequently, if you want your website to come up first then you absolutely need to do as much as possible to embrace SEO principles. If you would like to learn more about using SEO strategies to boost your online content, then there are some useful resources over on the Victorious website.

That being said, a lack of browser support and all sorts of other issues added to the demise of the title attribute as a useful link feature. The point is that there is a reason for the title attribute, but no one was using it and people with special accessibility needs found ways around it. At one point, the screen readers I used actually did make use of the title attribute, but newer screen readers don’t. In fact, the new approach is to ensure that links contain enough text to ensure someone with a screen reader knows what they mean. It’s a situation where a specific programming technique didn’t get the job done so another technique is now in use-one that seems more natural and that people are actually using.

So, what cued me into the fact that the title attribute is no longer particularly useful? Well, I use WordPress to create blog posts and noted recently that they had removed the title attribute from the dialog box for creating links. For a while I was adding the title attribute in by hand because I really did feel I was making the page more accessible. However, after talking with a friend about the issue and experimenting with the latest screen readers myself, I find that the title attribute is one of those “also ran” features that simply doesn’t see use often enough to make it worthwhile using. The new strategy is to ensure you provide enough text as part of your link to ensure the link is clear all by itself (even if you need to hide part of that text from view). If you have a copy of one of my books that espouses the use of the title attribute, make sure you change your practice to match what the rest of the world is doing today. Let me know if you have any questions about the use of the title attribute at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.