How are table and list links tested for usability and accessibility in DITA?

Testing table and list links for usability and accessibility in DITA is crucial to ensure a positive user experience and compliance with accessibility standards. This process involves checking the functionality of links, their placement within tables and lists, as well as their compatibility with screen readers and other assistive technologies. Here’s how this testing can be approached:

1. Link Functionality: To assess the usability of links in tables and lists, you should verify that they correctly navigate to the intended content. This includes checking that links open the appropriate documents, sections, or pages. Automated testing tools can be used to detect broken or misdirected links within DITA documentation. Manual testing can also help identify issues related to link functionality.

2. Accessibility: Accessibility testing is critical for ensuring that links within tables and lists are usable by individuals with disabilities. To evaluate accessibility, you need to examine various aspects:

  • Screen Reader Compatibility: Confirm that screen readers can detect and read out links effectively. Ensure that link text is descriptive and conveys the purpose of the link.
  • Keyboard Navigation: Verify that links can be accessed and activated using keyboard commands, without relying on mouse interactions. Keyboard navigation should follow a logical order within tables and lists.
  • Visual Contrast: Assess the visual contrast between link text and its background to guarantee that links are distinguishable for users with visual impairments.
  • Link Text Descriptiveness: Ensure that link text is clear and meaningful, avoiding generic terms like “click here.” Descriptive link text enhances usability for all users, especially those relying on screen readers.


Consider a DITA documentation that contains a table listing software updates. Each update has a link to release notes. In usability and accessibility testing, it’s crucial to confirm that screen readers can detect the links, the link text accurately describes the content (“Release Notes for Version X.Y.Z”), keyboard users can navigate to the links, and the visual contrast of link text is sufficient. Additionally, links should lead to the specific release notes associated with the respective software version.

  <row><entry>Version X.Y.Z</entry><entry><a href="release_notes_XYZ.html">Release Notes</a></entry></row>
  <row><entry>Version A.B.C</entry><entry><a href="release_notes_ABC.html">Release Notes</a></entry></row>
  <row><entry>Version P.Q.R</entry><entry><a href="release_notes_PQR.html">Release Notes</a></entry></row>
  <!-- ...more entries... -->

By addressing link functionality and accessibility, organizations can enhance the usability of tables and lists in DITA documentation, making them more inclusive and user-friendly.