Meaning & Definition
Anchor link / Hyperlink
An anchor link, also known simply as a hyperlink, is a reference or clickable element within a document or webpage that, when clicked, directs the user to another location within the same document, to a different document, or to a web address. Hyperlinks are a fundamental component of the World Wide Web and play a crucial role in navigating and connecting various web resources.
Here are some key points about anchor links or hyperlinks:
- Text or Object
A hyperlink can be associated with text, images, buttons, or any other object that can be clicked. When the user interacts with this element (e.g., clicks it), the hyperlink takes them to the linked destination.
Hyperlinks can point to different destinations, including:
- Another Webpage: This can be a different page on the same website or a page on a different website.
- An Anchor Within the Same Page: You can link to a specific section of the same webpage, and when clicked, the page scrolls to that section.
- File Downloads: Hyperlinks can initiate downloads of files, such as PDFs, images, or documents.
- Email Addresses: A “mailto” hyperlink opens the user’s email client with the specified email address pre-filled.
- External Protocols: Some hyperlinks can initiate actions, like “tel:” for phone calls on mobile devices.
The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is used to specify the destination of a hyperlink. A URL includes the protocol (e.g., “https://”), the domain or address (e.g., “www.example.com”), and the path or resource (e.g., “/page1.html”).
- Textual Description
Hyperlinks are typically presented with descriptive text, which is called the anchor text. The anchor text provides a clue about where the link will take the user. For example, a hyperlink with the anchor text “Click here” may not be as informative as one with the anchor text “Learn more about hyperlinks.”
- Target Window
Hyperlinks can be configured to open the linked content in the same browser window or in a new window or tab, depending on the author’s choice.
- Link Types
In HTML, the language used to create webpages, there are several types of hyperlinks, including anchor links (used for in-page navigation), relative links (referencing resources within the same website), and absolute links (pointing to specific URLs). Links can also be marked as “nofollow” to instruct search engines not to follow them.
Properly labeled and structured hyperlinks are important for web accessibility. Screen readers and other assistive technologies rely on well-formed hyperlinks to provide a meaningful and inclusive browsing experience for individuals with disabilities.
Hyperlinks are an essential part of the internet and digital documents, enabling users to navigate the web, access additional information, and interact with online content. They serve as a bridge between different web resources, making it easy to move from one page to another, access multimedia content, and engage with interactive features.