Friday, 16 July 2010

Click here to read this post

This is a post only to make a quick question:

Why people still think now a days that it is necessary to name links "click here"?

Shouldn't the "click" be expressed graphically?

Buttons, underlining, colours, some effects... there are so many ways and conventions to show that a word, an image, a button is a link (it is clickable) that I wonder why would it be necessary to use the wording "click here".

Very often the use of "click here" just increase the number of words without adding any meaning to the action of the link.

If you have, for example "click here to add a comment" the user will need to read the sentence, think and then click. While "add a comment" just needs the user to scan it and they will know what that link is about. It has been proved by research that users scan a page (they don't read a page) and then stop only in places they are interested in (if you are reading this post, for example, you scanned the blog, scanned the title and went deeper into this post because it interested you).

All of this sound quite obvious, but I've had some discussions recently where people supported the argument for "click here" that really surprised me. For example saying "users won't get it". Won't they?!

After reading the book "Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" by Steve Krug (click here to see what book I am talking about) every time I'm designing a button or another kind of link, I remember the point about call to action. The call to action on a button should be on what the user will receive by clicking that link.

As also mentioned by Jacob Nielsen in 2005:

"Explain what users will find at the other end of the link (...) Don't use "click here" or other non-descriptive link text."

(Nielsen, J. on Ten Top Design mistakes, 2005)

One good example showed by Krug was this image below:

The window which has the buttons "Don't save", "cancel", "save" require less thinking because they are self-explanatory. It is easier for the user to make a choice by just scanning that window. The other window requires the user to think.

Having said all that, I would like to hear from you:

Can you think about any situation where adding the wording "click here" is appropriate or necessary?

8 comments:

uxgirlie said...

Not sure why, but the following sentence you included a your "Why people still think that it is necessary to name links "click here" post actually INCLUDES a "click here":
"After reading the book "Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" by Steve Krug (click here to see what book I am talking about)...". Doesn't seem to reinforce your case for not including a "click here" instance.

Having been in the UX field for over 10 years and conducting a wide variety of user testing, I believe the case for including a "click here" instance is dependent on many factors, from the target audience using an application/web site, to the overall purpose of it. In some scenarios it made sense - in others it didn't.

Mariana Mota said...

Thank you for your comment, uxgirlie! I really appreciate your comments.

First, the title and the "click here to see what book I am talking about" was just ironic, as I am exactly questioning the use of it.

I would love to hear a bit more about your tests where "click here" made sense. Can you give some examples where the use of it is appropriate? Did it change year by year? I would imagine that 10 years ago it would be a lot different because of the conventions, do you agree?

Many thanks,
Mariana

Full of Art said...

Very funny Mariana
Parabens pela idéia, as pessoas clicam mesmo antes de saber what for??
Por isso que estamos cheios de ''virus''
Ana
webdesigner

Mariana Mota said...

For the English speakers, the translation:

"Very funny Mariana
Congratulations for your idea. Do people really click before they know what it is for???
That's why we are all full of viruses.
Ana
Webdesigner"

---

Thank you Ana! Well, the "click here" is usually in a context, so people might know what they are clicking for. They just have to think before they click (or not). But you made a really good point. Maybe in some cases it is from the website's interest to confuse the user?! Hm, but lets not get into this topic. :)

Mariana Mota said...

Interesting discussion going on at the IXDA group:

http://www.ixda.org/node/26355#comment-78459

Jeremy Girard said...

Excellent! This article was brought to my attention in support of another article discussing this topic, as well as other outdated Web best practices, at http://designinformer.com/giving-users-some-credit/

Dave said...

Firstly Hi MM and JM! :D

Secondly r.e. the 'don't save/save' comment from Steve krug's book - I've never really agreed with that, and I think that in of its self shows that usability can be highly subjective to the user. My brain is wired in such a way that a 'Save? 'yes/no' prompt feels more natural for me.
Subjectivity vs usability - fight! :D
^DC

jalbertbowdenii said...

"Click Here" is played out like polka dots.
Another reason to never use it, number one to me, search engines index the content in and around your links. if your link says click here, the bots think "Click Here" is the relevant topic here as well as where the link goes. People that still use click here: "webmasters", devs who don't care and n00bs. and the n00bs are just fine by me: we all gotta start somewheres.

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