Tag: link

How to Create a “Skip to Content” Link

Skip links are little internal navigation links that help users move around a page. It’s possible you’ve never actually seen one before because they’re often hidden from view and used as an accessibility enhancement that lets keyboard users and screen readers jump from the top of the page to the content without have to go through other elements on the page first.

In fact, you can find one right here on CSS-Tricks if you crack DevTools open.

In my opinion, the best way to implement a skip link is to hide it and then bring it into view when it is focused. So, let’s say we have a link in the HTML:

<a class="skip-to-content-link" href="#main">Skip to content</a>

…we can give it an absolute position and translate it off the screen:

.skip-to-content-link {   left: 50%;   position: absolute;   transform: translateY(-100%); }

Then we can bring it back into view when it’s in focus and style it up a bit in the process:

.skip-to-content-link {   background: #e77e23;   height: 30px;   left: 50%;   padding: 8px;   position: absolute;   transform: translateY(-100%);   transition: transform 0.3s; }  .skip-to-content-link:focus {   transform: translateY(0%); }

This will hide our link until it is focused and then put it into view when it becomes focused.

Now, allow me to elaborate, starting with this quote from Miles Davis:

Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.

As I sit down to write this article in a rainy Ireland, I think of the challenge that many users face as they use the web that I take for granted. We put so much thought into creating a great user experience without thinking of all our users and how to meet their needs. Admittedly, a skip link was something I had never heard of until completing a course on Frontend Masters by Marcy Sutton. Since learning the power and simplicity of using a skip link, I decided to make it my mission to spread more awareness — and what platform better than CSS-Tricks!

A solution is an answer to a problem, so what’s the solution for helping keyboard users and screen readers find the content of a page quickly? In short, the solution is time. Giving users the ability to navigate to parts of our website that they are most interested in gives them the power to save valuable time.

Take the Sky News website as an example. It offers a “Skip to content” button that allows users to skip all the navigation items and jump straight to the main content.

You can see this button by navigating to the top of the page using your keyboard.  This is similar to the implementation shown above. The link is always in the document but only becomes visible when it’s in focus.

This is the type of skip link we are going to create together in this post.

Our sample website

I built a sample website that we will use to demonstrate a skip link.

The website has a number of navigation links but, in the interest of time, there are only two pages: the home page and the blog page. This is all we need to see how things work.

Identifying the problem

Here’s the navigation we’re working with:

In total, we have eight navigation items that a keyboard user and screen reader must tab through before reaching the main content below the navigation.

That’s the problem. The navigation may be irrelevant for the user. Perhaps the user was given a direct link to an article and they simply want to get to the content.

This is a perfect use case for a skip link.

Creating the link

There are a couple of approaches to creating a Skip to content link.  What I like to do is similar to the Sky News example, which is hiding the link until it is focused.  That means we can drop the link at or near the top of the page, like inside the <header> element.

<header>   <a class="skip-link" href='#main'>Skip to content</a>   <!-- Navigation--> </header>

This link has a .skip-link class so we can style it. Thehref attribute points to #main, which is the ID we will add to the <main> element that comes further down the page. That’s what the link will jump to when clicked.

<header>   <a class="skip-link" href='#main'>Skip to content</a>   <!-- Navigation--> </header> 
 <!-- Maybe some other stuff... --> 
 <main id="main">   <!-- Content --> </main>

Here’s what we have if we simply drop the link into the header with no styling.

This does not look great, but the functionality is there. Try navigating to the link with your keyboard and pressing Enter when it’s in focus.

Now it’s time to make it look pretty. We must first fix the positioning and only show our skip link when it is in focus.

.skip-link {   background: #319795;   color: #fff;   font-weight: 700;   left: 50%;   padding: 4px;   position: absolute;   transform: translateY(-100%); }  .skip-link:focus {   transform: translateY(0%); }

The magic here is in the transform property, which is hiding and showing our skip link depending on whether it is focused or not. Let’s make it look a little nicer with a quick transition on the transform property.

.skip-link {   /* Same as  before */   transition: transform 0.3s; }

It will now transition into view which makes that bit better.

You should now (hopefully) have what I have below:

As you can see, the skip link bypasses the navigation and jumps straight down to the <main> element when clicked.

It’s OK to use more than one link!

Right now, the link only serves one purpose and that is skip to the content of our website. But we don’t have to stop there.

We can go even further and create a skip link that has more options, such as a way to jump to the footer of the site. As you might imagine, this is quite similar to what we’ve already done.

Let’s make the blog page of the example site a little more usable by using multiple skip links. It’s common for blogs to use AJAX that loads in more posts when reaching the bottom of the page. This can make it very difficult to get to the footer of the website. That’s the problem we want to solve in this case.

So let’s add a second link that bypasses all that auto-loading business and jumps the user straight to a #footer element on the page.

<div class="skip-link" >   Skip to <a href='#main'>content</a> or <a href='#footer'>footer</a> </div>

We also need to amend our CSS a little and use the :focus-within pseudo selector.

.skip-link {   transform: translateY(-100%); }  .skip-link:focus-within {   transform: translateY(0%); }

This is saying if anything within our .skip-link element has focus, then we show it. Sadly, neither Internet Explorer nor Opera Mini support focus-within, but its coverage is pretty darn good and there is a polyfill available.

This browser support data is from Caniuse, which has more detail. A number indicates that browser supports the feature at that version and up.


Chrome Firefox IE Edge Safari
60 52 No 79 10.1

Mobile / Tablet

Android Chrome Android Firefox Android iOS Safari
80 68 No 10.3

Last thing we need to do is make sure there’s an ID on our footer element so the link has something to jump to.

<footer id="footer">

Here’s what this gives us:

If we wanted to go one step further (and I’d encourage it), we could style each link a little differently so users can distinguish between the two. Both links in this example are plain white which works great for a single button that does a single thing, but it’d be clearer that we’re dealing with two links if they were presented differently.

Jumping to conclusions

Are you using skip links on your site? Or, if not, does this convince you to use one? I hope it’s clear that skip links are a great value add when it comes to the accessibility of a site. While it’s not a silver bullet that solves every accessibility need, it does solve some use cases that make for a much more polished user experience.

Here are some prominent sites that are using this or a similar technique:

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4 Ways to Animate the Color of a Text Link on Hover

Let’s create a pure CSS effect that changes the color of a text link on hover… but slide that new color in instead of simply swapping colors.

There are four different techniques we can use to do this. Let’s look at those while being mindful of important things, like accessibility, performance, and browser support in mind.

Let’s get started!

Technique 1: Using background-clip: text

At the time of writing, the background-clip: text property is an experimental feature and is not supported in Internet Explorer 11 and below.

This technique involves creating knockout text with a hard stop gradient. The markup consists of a single HTML link (<a>) element to create a hyperlink:

<a href="#">Link Hover</a>

We can start adding styles to the hyperlink. Using overflow: hidden will clip any content outside of the hyperlink during the hover transition:

a {   position: relative;   display: inline-block;   font-size: 2em;   font-weight: 800;   color: royalblue;   overflow: hidden; }

We will need to use a linear gradient with a hard stop at 50% to the starting color we want the link to be as well as the color that it will change to:

a {   /* Same as before */   background: linear-gradient(to right, midnightblue, midnightblue 50%, royalblue 50%); }

Let’s use background-clip to clip the gradient and the text value to display the text. We will also use the background-size and background-position properties to have the starting color appear:

a {   /* Same as before */   background-clip: text;   -webkit-background-clip: text;   -webkit-text-fill-color: transparent;   background-size: 200% 100%;   background-position: 100%; }

Finally, let’s add the transition CSS property and :hover CSS pseudo-class to the hyperlink. To have the link fill from left to right on hover, use the background-position property:

a {   /* Same as before */   transition: background-position 275ms ease; } a:hover {   background-position: 0 100%; }

While this technique does achieve the hover effect, Safari and Chrome will clip text decorations and shadows, meaning they won’t be displayed. Applying text styles, such as an underline, with the text-decoration CSS property will not work. Perhaps consider using other approaches when creating underlines.

Technique 2: Using width/height

This works by using a data attribute containing the same text as the one in the <a> tag and setting the width (filling the text from left-to-right or right-to-left) or height (filling the text from top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top), from 0% to 100% on hover.

Here is the markup:

<a href="#" data-content="Link Hover">Link Hover</a>

The CSS is similar to the previous technique minus the background CSS properties. The text-decoration property will work here:

a {   position: relative;   display: inline-block;   font-size: 2em;   color: royalblue;   font-weight: 800;   text-decoration: underline;   overflow: hidden; }

This is when we need to use the content from the data-content attribute. It will be positioned above the content in the <a> tag. We get to use the nice little trick of copying the text in the data attribute and displaying it via the attr() function on the content property of the element’s ::before pseudo-element.

a::before {   position: absolute;   content: attr(data-content); /* Prints the value of the attribute */   top: 0;   left: 0;   color: midnightblue;   text-decoration: underline;   overflow: hidden;   transition: width 275ms ease; }

To keep the text from wrapping to the next line, white-space: nowrap will be applied. To change the link fill color, set the value for the color CSS property using the ::before pseudo-element and having the width start at 0:

a::before {   /* Same as before */   width: 0;   white-space: nowrap; }

Increase the width to 100% to the ::before pseudo element to complete the text effect on hover:

a:hover::before {   width: 100%; }

While this technique does the trick, using the width or height properties will not produce a performant CSS transition. It is best to use either the transform or opacity properties to achieve a smooth, 60fps transition.

Using the text-decoration CSS property can allow for different underline styles to appear in the CSS transition. I created a demo showcasing this using the next technique: the clip-path CSS property.

Technique 3: Using clip-path

For this technique, we will be using the clip-path CSS property with a polygon shape. The polygon will have four vertices, with two of them expanding to the right on hover:

The markup is the same as the previous technique. We will use a ::before pseudo-element again, but the CSS is different:

a::before {   position: absolute;   content: attr(data-content);   color: midnightblue;   text-decoration: underline;   clip-path: polygon(0 0, 0 0, 0% 100%, 0 100%);   transition: clip-path 275ms ease; }

Unlike the previous techniques, text-decoration: underline must be declared to the ::before pseudo-element for the color to fill the underline on hover.

Now let’s look into the CSS for the clip-path technique:

clip-path: polygon(0 0, 0 0, 0% 100%, 0 100%);

The polygon’s vertices of the clip-path property are set in percentages to define coordinates by the order written:

  • 0 0 = top left
  • 0 0 = top right
  • 100% 0 = bottom right
  • 0 100% = bottom left

The direction of the fill effect can be changed by modifying the coordinates. Now that we have an idea for the coordinates, we can make the polygon expand to the right on hover:

a:hover::before {   clip-path: polygon(0 0, 100% 0, 100% 100%, 0 100%); }

This technique works pretty well, but note that support for the clip-path property varies between browsers. Creating a CSS transition with clip-path is a better alternative than using the width/height technique; however, it does affect the browser paint.

Technique 4: Using transform

The markup for this technique uses a masking method with a <span> element. Since we will be using duplicated content in a separate element, we will use aria-hidden="true" to improve accessibility — that will hide it from screen readers so the content isn’t read twice:

<a href="#"><span data-content="Link Hover" aria-hidden="true"></span>Link Hover</a>

The CSS for the <span> element contains a transition that will be starting from the left:

span {   position: absolute;   top: 0;   left: 0;   overflow: hidden;   transform: translateX(-100%);   transition: transform 275ms ease; }

Next, we need to get the <span> to slide the right like this:

To do this, we will use the translateX() CSS function and set it to 0:

a:hover span {   transform: translateX(0); }

Then, we will use the ::before pseudo-element for the <span>, again using the data-content attribute we did before. We’ll set the position by translating it 100% along the x-axis.

span::before {    display: inline-block;   content: attr(data-content);   color: midnightblue;   transform: translateX(100%);   transition: transform 275ms ease;   text-decoration: underline; }

Much like the <span> element, the position of the ::before pseudo-element will also be set to  translateX(0):

a:hover span::before {   transform: translateX(0); }

While this technique is the the most cross-browser compatible of the bunch, it requires more markup and CSS to get there. That said, using the transform CSS property is great for performance as it does not trigger repaints and thus produces smooth, 60fps CSS transitions.

There we have it!

We just looked at four different techniques to achieve the same effect. Although each has its pros and cons, you can see that it’s totally possible to slide in a color change on text. It’s a neat little effect that makes links feel a little more interactive.

The post 4 Ways to Animate the Color of a Text Link on Hover appeared first on CSS-Tricks.


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“Link In Bio” is a slow knife

Anil Dash:

If Instagram users could post links willy-nilly, they might even be able to connect directly to their users, getting their email addresses or finding other ways to communicate with them. Links represent a threat to closed systems.

On CodePen, we have a TextExpander snippet we use for every single Instagram post we schedule through Buffer and it expands to this:

Looking for the code? It’s open-source on CodePen, follow the link 🔗 in our profile and find the author’s Pen there.

I can’t quite explain it, but I feel taken in by this sleight of hand. My brain goes, “Oh, they just can’t allow links on Instagram posts because it would just turn into a cesspool of spam and bad behavior.”. But of course, that isn’t the real reason. Instagram is already a mess of spam, and it’s fairly easy to avoid. Links wouldn’t change that. If anything they would be a helpful honeypot for catching bad actors. Links just make it easy to leave.

Minor note about linking out: Business accounts with over 10,000 followers can add a URL as a “swipe up” gesture on Instagram Stories. Whoop-de-doo.

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The Many Ways to Link Up Shapes and Images with HTML and CSS

Different website designs often call for a shape other than a square or rectangle to respond to a click event. Perhaps your site has some kind of tilted or curved banner where the click area would be awkwardly large as a straight rectangle. Or you have a large uniquely shaped logo where you only want that unique shape to be clickable. Or you have an interactive image that responds differently when different regions of it are clicked.

You can surround those assets with an un-styled <a> tag to get a clickable rectangle that’s approximately the right size. However, you can also control the shape of that region with different techniques, making sure the target for your click area exactly matches what’s visible on the screen.

SVG shapes

If your click target is an image or a portion of an image, and you have the ability to choose SVG as its format, you already have a great deal of control over how that element will behave on your page. The simplest way to make a portion of an SVG clickable is to add an an SVG hyperlink element to the markup. This is as easy as wrapping the target with an <a> tag, just as you would a nested html element. Your <a> tag can surround a simple shape or more complex paths. It can surround a group of SVG elements or just one. In this example the link for the bullseye wraps a single circle element, but the more complex arrow shape is made up of two polygons and a path element.

See the Pen
target svg
by Bailey Jones (@bailey_jones)
on CodePen.

Note that I’ve used the deprecated xlink:href property in this demo to ensure that the link will work on Safari. The href alone would have worked in Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.

The only trick here is to make sure the <a> tag is inside the SVG markup and that the tag wraps the shape you want to be clickable. The viewbox for this SVG is still a rectangle, so wrapping the entire SVG element wouldn’t have the same effect.

Image maps

Let’s say you don’t have control over the SVG markup, or that you need to add a clickable area to a raster image instead. It’s possible to apply a clickable target to a portion of an <img> tag using an image map.

Image maps are defined separately from the image source. The map will effectively overlay the entire image element, but it’s up to you to define the clickable area. Unlike the hyperlink element in the SVG example, the coordinates in the image map don’t have anything to do with the definition of the source image. Image maps have been around since HTML 3, meaning they have excellent browser support. However, they can’t be styled with CSS alone to provide interactive cues, like we were able to do with SVG on hover — the cursor is the only visual indicator that the target area of the image can be clicked. There are, however, options for styling the areas with JavaScript.

W3 Schools has an excellent example of an image map using a picture of the solar system where the sun and planets are linked to close-up images of those targets — everywhere else in the image is un-clickable. That’s because the coordinates of the areas defined in their image map match the locations of the sun and planets in the base image.

Here’s another example from Derek Fogge that uses uses maps to create more interesting click targets. It does use jQuery to style the areas on click, but notice the way a map overlays the image and coordinates are used to create the targets.

See the Pen
responsive image map demo
by Derek Fogge (@PositionRelativ)
on CodePen.

You can implement image maps on even more complex shapes too. In fact, let’s go back to the same target shape from the SVG example but using a raster image instead. We still want to link up the arrow and the bullseye but this time do not have SVG elements to help us out. For the bullseye, we know the X and Y coordinates and its radius in the underlying image, so it’s fairly easy to define a circle for the region. The arrow shape is more complicated. I used https://www.image-map.net to plot out the shape and generate the area for the image map — it’s made up of one polygon and one circle for the rounded edge at the top.

See the Pen
target image map
by Bailey Jones (@bailey_jones)
on CodePen.


What if you want to use CSS to define the shape of a custom click region without resorting to JavaScript for the styling? The CSS clip-path property provides considerable flexibility for defining and styling target areas on any HTML element.

Here we have a click area in the shape of a five-pointed star. The star is technically a polygon, so we could use a star-shaped base image and an image map with corresponding coordinates like we did in the previous image map example. However, let’s put clip-path to use. The following example shows the same clip-path applied to both a JPG image and an absolutely positioned hyperlink element.

See the Pen
by Bailey Jones (@bailey_jones)
on CodePen.

Browser support for clip-path has gotten much better, but it can still be inconsistent for some values. Be sure to check support and vendor prefixes before relying on it.

We can also mix and match different approaches depending on what best suits the shape of a particular click target. Here, I’ve combined the “close” shape using Bennet Freely’s clippy with an SVG hyperlink element to build the start of a clickable tic-tac-toe game. SVG is useful here to make sure the “hole” in the middle of the “O” shape isn’t clickable. For the “X” though, which is a polygon, a single clip-path can style it.

See the Pen
tic tac toe
by Bailey Jones (@bailey_jones)
on CodePen.

Again, beware of browser support especially when mixing and matching techniques. The demo above will not be supported everywhere.

CSS shapes without transparent borders

The clip-path property allowed us to apply a predefined shape to an HTML element of our choice, including hyperlink elements. There are plenty of other options for creating elements HTML and CSS that aren’t squares and rectangles — you can see some of them in The Shapes of CSS. However, not all techniques will effect the shape of the click area as you might expect. Most of the examples in the Shapes of CSS rely on transparent borders, which the DOM will still recognize as part of your click target even if your users can’t see them. Other tricks like positioning, transform, and pseudo elements like ::before and ::after will keep your styled hyperlink aligned with its visible shape.

Here’s a CSS heart shape that does not rely on transparent borders. You can see how the the red heart shape is the only clickable area of the element.

See the Pen
Clickable heart
by Bailey Jones (@bailey_jones)
on CodePen.

Here’s another example that creates a CSS triangle shape using transparent borders. You can see how the click area winds up being outside the actual shape. Hover over the element and you’ll be able to see the true size of the click area.

See the Pen
clickable triangle
by Bailey Jones (@bailey_jones)
on CodePen.

Hopefully this gives you a good baseline understanding of the many ways to create clickable regions on images and shapes, relying on HTML and CSS alone. You may find that it’s necessary to reach for JavaScript in order to get a more advanced interactive experience. However, the combined powers of HTML, CSS, and SVG provide considerable options for controlling the precise shape of your click target.

The post The Many Ways to Link Up Shapes and Images with HTML and CSS appeared first on CSS-Tricks.


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Link Underlines That Animate Into Block Backgrounds

It’s a cool little effect. The default link style has an underline (which is a good idea) and then on :hover you see the underline essentially thicken up turning into almost what it would have looked liked if you used a background-color on the link instead.

Here’s an example of the effect on the Superfriendly site:

A journey:

  • The Superfriendly site does it with box-shadow. Turning box-shadow: inset 0 -0.07em 0 #0078d6; into box-shadow: inset 0 -0.85em 0 #a2d5fe; with a transition. Andres Cuervo ported that idea to a Pen. (I forked it to fix the “start offset” idea that was broken-seeming to me on the original).
  • You might be tempted to draw the line with a pseudo-element that’s, say, absolutely positioned within the relatively positioned link. Then you animate its height or scaleY or something. Here’s that kind of idea. Your enemy here is going to be links that break onto new lines, which box-shadow seems to handle more elegantly.
  • Another idea would be using linear-gradient with hard color stops to kinda “fake” the drawing of a line that’s positioned to look like an underline. Then the gradient can be animated to cover the element on hover, probably by moving its background-position. Here’s that kind of idea and another example we wrote up a little while back. This handles line breaks nicer than the previous method.
  • The default text-decoration: underline; has a distinct advantage these days: text-decoration-skip-ink! It has become the default behavior for links to have the underlines deftly skip around the decenders in text, making for much nicer looking underlines than any of these techniques (also: borders) can pull off. There are properties that are somewhat new that you may not be aware of that give you more control over the underline that we have traditionally had, like text-decoration-color. But there is more, like thickness and offset, that make this effect possible! Miriam Suzanne has a demo of exactly this, which only works in Firefox Nightly at the moment, but should be making the rounds soon enough.

Summary: If you need to do this effect right now in the most browsers you can, the box-shadow technique is probably best. If it’s just an enhancement that can wait a bit, using text-decoration-thickness / text-decoration-offset / text-decoration-color with a transition is a better option for aesthetics, control, and being able to understand the code at first glance.

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Variable Fonts Link Dump!

There’s been a ton of great stuff flying around about variable fonts lately (our tag has loads of stuff as well). I thought I’d round up all the new stuff I hadn’t seen before.

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Preload, prefetch and other link tags

Ivan Akulov has collected a whole bunch of information and know-how on making things load a bit more quickly with preload and prefetch. That’s great in and of itself, but he also points to something new to me – the as attribute:

<link rel="preload" href="/style.css" as="style" />

Supposedly, this helps browsers prioritize when to download assets and which assets to load.

My favorite part of this post is Ivan’s quick summary at the end which clearly defines what all these different tags can be used for:

<link rel="preload"> – when you’ll need a resource in a few seconds
<link rel="prefetch"> – when you’ll need a resource on a next page
<link rel="preconnect"> – when you know you’ll need a resource soon, but you don’t know its full url yet

Make sure to check out our own post on the matter of prefetching, preloading, and prebrowsing, too. Adding these things to our links can make significant performance improvements and so check it out to add more resources to your performance toolbox.

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