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Click here, redundant or a standard?


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#1 kajax101

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 04:52 AM

I personally hate using 'click here' on websites and avoid it like the plague. I think the rational argument for NOT using 'click here' is a solid one, it is redundant, linking a relevant action verb is much more effective, but here is my question.

Has the over-use of 'click here' turned it into one of those website standards such as 'shopping cart' that everyone instinctually recognizes? If so, does this make 'click here' an element that boosts website usability?

#2 web_wanderer

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 05:13 AM

I think all the old reasons against the use of "click here" are still valid: the phrase is too pushy and looks stupid on print.

Now, however there's one more source to back up your arguments - W3C accessibility guidelines:
http://www.w3.org/TR...ML-TECHS/#links

As accessibility becomes increasingly popular aspect of online presence, clients typically prefer not to create additional obstacles on the way and give up with the belief that their web site visitors are only smart enough to follow 'click here' links.

#3 Thox

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 05:45 AM

In accessability terms I think "click the image below" is worse, but "click here" is bad enough. I try to avoid it.

#4 Adrian

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 05:49 AM

Click here is bad and nasty :)
Use descriptive text for the link, much better. Mainly for the accessibility points made above.

#5 trevHCS

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 08:10 AM

I'd have thought "click here to do X" was more of a guide to the user that a pushy statement. It tells even the newest user what to do when perhaps they wouldn't see a link as being a gateway to their goal.

I can understand it not being used everywhere of course for both usability and SEO purposes, but is it really so bad that it needs to be assigned to the great deep hole where we dropped animated e-mail gif's 5 years ago? :wink:

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#6 Ransak

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 08:38 AM

I am not totally in disagrement with you all on the 'click here'. I'm not entirely fond of it. But the WC3 article is not exactlly conclusive proof that putting 'click here' is bad. It is mearly an opinion piece.

The argument about 'click here' being device dependant is valid, yet very weak when debating Business owners and marketing staff. They counter with 'ok we can make it more useable for another 1% of people who might use different media, but what if we lose 2% of others who do not click the right link? No science to back up that claim but it is real in their minds.

I think with the user who is not internet savvy and does not work directly on the web, click here has become a standard. It is always asked for when I work directly with business owners and marketing staff.

On the other hand, agencies and designers always distain it. Yet, we forget that for many sites, the people we are targeting are more like the business owner and less like the designer. These are the same types who type URL's into google to surf the web.

Frank V.

#7 cre8pc

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 08:59 AM

All the guidelines I've seen from the usability oriented books and articles is it should be avoided when possible.

But, I don't have a bird when I see a thumbnail image and tiny font msg that says "Click to enlarge" or a tiny arrow and word "enlarge" that when pushed, activate the blow up. Most people know to do this, but I've found, in testing sites, that many sites actually do not have this option. This means the visitor clicks on the image, thinking it will enlarge, but nothing happens. That's frustrating.

The better rule of thumb is to refine the amount of words to cut down on redundancies (hard to do!) and make all labels more descriptive and accurate. Underlining text is a dead giveaway that the word(s) can be clicked. The trend to remove underlines from words removes the obvious, and forces another way to invite an action from the visitor.

For SEO and kinder accessibility, hyperlinking words (anchor text) is the logical choice :)

#8 kajax101

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 09:24 AM

we forget that for many sites, the people we are targeting are more like the business owner and less like the designer


I think this is a very interesting point, I sometimes get the feeling that the proponents of web usability are streets ahead of regular internet users, and the simple fact is that most people aren't that internet savvy, even a lot IT technicians who are wizards in networking, programming etc, won't really notice whether you have a 'click here to view our annual report' or 'view our annual report' . So the average users that I know (practically everyone I know who uses the net) doesn't really spot such differences and won't consider a site unprofessional for using 'click here' instead of a contextual link.

#9 Ruud

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:13 AM

The whole thing has never come close to bother me in the least.

I do remember contemplating illegal acts consisting of inflincting serious bodliy harm when I sat behind my Pentium 166 (32 MB RAM) and my 1GB drive would churn and churn and churn while because a link not simply opened in its own window but somehow was considered to be important enough to validate its complete own browser instance. Now that is annoying.

I would go for one or the other though. Some sites have me hover over their links so I can see where they go as they would do "click here to view our annual report" - making you click & inspect two links.

On the "average users we know" note - the users I know need a clearly hyperlinked 'click here'. Sometimes I think that apart from all the efforts for chield friendly Internet places we should have elderly and non-internet savt places as well...

Ruud

#10 Respree

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:33 AM

I think the implied action of a clearly designated text link is to click it. In my view, that's the nature of a text link. What else can the user but to click it (if that's where they want to go)?

Sometimes links are 'not' so obvious. Let's take thumbnail images for example. It could be linked or maybe it's not. A 'click to enlarge" link, in this case, would be recommended, as it assists the user in letting them know the image 'is' a link.

#11 sanity

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 04:33 PM

I sometimes get the feeling that the proponents of web usability are streets ahead of regular internet users, and the simple fact is that most people aren't that internet savvy,

Good point. I have no problem using a click here if it works in the copy and reads well. Heck if it helps a user find what they're looking for I'm all for it. With the number of sites where link colours are not obvious or words are underlined as well as links sometimes a simple click here can help avoid confusion.

#12 Adrian

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 05:03 PM

I was going to raise Sophie's point earlier, but was busy and so she beat me too it :P

How many times have you had to play hunt the link because underlining is removed or it's styled to look just like plain text until hovered over or something. Clearly in those cases, a 'Click here' instruction helps.

I'd tend to argue that it'd be better to make links more easy to see and so keep the context, than to use click here to help unhide otherwise difficult to find links.

#13 sanity

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 07:59 PM

Ya gotta be quick Adrian. :P

I'd tend to argue that it'd be better to make links more easy to see and so keep the context, than to use click here to help unhide otherwise difficult to find links.

Agreed. But then again there are definitely users out there that need a click here that stands out like... well you know what I mean. :wink: My mum is one of them - I don't know how she manages to get around the net I really don't. Like a lot of this stuff who your audience are will guide a lot of these decisions.

#14 mugshot

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 09:01 PM

I have no problems with CLICK HERE, especially when we websites need to cater to a population who are not as internet savvy as us in these forums. As a matter of fact, even I have to look for links sometimes ;)

One method that I've found useful is to provide a "dead end" to your readers. This concept involves having a page of content with whatever in-text links you desire. Additionally, at the very end of the paragraph, if there is a certain call to action that you require them to do, place it in bold there.

Name it whatever you want because by that time, the reader is already involved in your article, content, whatever that he or she has no choice but compelled to click there :P

Some good links that I've used in the past are
Get More Information
Read More About "TOPIC"
Ready to Order?

#15 Ransak

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:10 PM

How many times have you had to play hunt the link because underlining is removed or it's styled to look just like plain text until hovered over or something. Clearly in those cases, a 'Click here' instruction helps.


I totally agree. I usually only remove the underlining sparingly and never within a body of text.

Frank V.

#16 Respree

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:11 PM

Check your PM, Frank!

#17 sanity

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:12 PM

RALMAO

#18 Respree

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:15 PM

Looks like this...

Posted Image

#19 sanity

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:16 PM

Except I would imagine it says you have 1 new message. :)

#20 Respree

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:19 PM

That's the only screen cap I could take. But of course, I 'always' check my messages. The same cannot be said with all members. Ehem. <cough><cough>

#21 Tim

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:30 PM

:rofl:

#22 Ransak

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:32 PM

Check your PM, Frank!


Guys - I'm on it. :)

Frank V.

#23 sanity

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:33 PM

Yayyy!!!

#24 Respree

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:11 PM

Yayyy!!! See, it wasn't too hard to get his attention. :)

#25 sanity

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:12 PM

Garrick we didn't need to use the second screen cap either. :)

#26 Ruud

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:13 PM

Guys - I'm on it.


Woooh! Slow down! Not so fast! :wave:

Ruud

#27 Respree

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:15 PM

Sorry to throw this thread off track, kajax101.

[We now return you to your regularly schedule program]

#28 kajax101

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 07:31 AM

No problem....freedom of speech i say!

#29 behindTheScenes

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 07:52 AM

I think that with all the emerging internet markets, it would be foolish not to put click here onto web sites as these markets are quite young and the users have not matured into their approach to web sites.
Web sites are very similar to adverts in that way, you start them with simple non subtle techniques and then move them on to the subtler variety.

#30 fisicx

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 01:17 PM

Click here is no different to any other link - they are just words on the page that tell the visitor that there is more information to be had. It therefore matters not one jot if you use 'click here' as long as the site remains usable and accessible.

However, if you are going to condem 'click here' then why not add 'help', 'more info', 'more', 'about' and all other shortcut description that are as useful as a chocolate fireguard. And then there are database driven commerce sites that display the manufactures part number/description that give no clue as to what is on offer: 'Polar S120' means nothing until you click on the link that tells you that it is a 'close knit 4 season thermal vest'.

There are more important things to worry about than 'click here for more information'. As long as the site is usable and accessible then that's all the user wants.

#31 Scratch

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 06:54 AM

@behindTheScenes: I disagree with the idea that young markets need 'click here' to help clarify a link. Younger web users learn and adapt quicker.

IMO 'click here' needs to be taken out in the yard and shot. Yes, it's a convention, but it's a bad one, doesn't help, and needs to be unconventionalised now.

Here's why..

1) It adds noise. "Click here to view report" is longer than "View report >". Wordage should be reduced to the minimum amount that retains clarity. The more words you have, the harder it is to find something that's important, the higher the possibility of failure, the

2) It gets in the way of front-loading, and hogs the capital letter. The Cap is a useful anchor for attracting the eye. It works well when it attracts the eye to a useful, content-ful word. "Click" isn't one. Front-loading is the idea of putting the most meaningful words first in phrases, sentences, paragraphs and pages.

3) As has been said, hyperlinks should be clearly styled as hyperlinks, and *shouldn't* need to be made any clearer. (Personally, I go for blue non-underlined, and red-underlined on hover). Adding "Click here" is a fudge in response to a different design mistake. Fix the mistake.

4) The content of a hyperlink should state either what you get, where you go, or what you want to happen - when you click it. So, "[u]View report" is anywhere near acceptable.

5) It's in the wrong tone of voice. People prefer hyperlinks that let them communicate with the web site through commands or requests.. Imperative voice is good (command), e.g. "[u]Show me my orders", so again hyperlinking the imperative command fits their internal dialogue.

Peace,

Scratch

#32 Ruud

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 07:47 AM

Beauty of a post, Scratch!

Ruud

#33 Respree

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 08:06 AM

Great post, Scratch. I agree.

#34 Ransak

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 08:50 AM

Hi Scratch,

Firstly, I think behindthescenes meant 'new' when he said 'young'. My take was he was referring to internet usage, not age. I could be wrong but that was my take.

Secondly, everything you say makes sense and many good people make these arguments. What I would need to convince my superiors is empirical data. They swear clicks and conversions increase when we add 'click here' to our links and they are constantly going over our site usage stats.

Frank V.

Ack! - edited for spelling.

#35 Ruud

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 08:57 AM

They swear clicks and conversions increase when we add 'click here' to our links and they are constancly going over our site usage stats.


Are you inclined to agree?

Ruud

#36 cre8pc

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 09:05 AM

IMO 'click here' needs to be taken out in the yard and shot.


I just shake my head sometimes. This is what all the books on user centered design say, and they argue the point in much the way Scratch just did.

Once again, I see the Way as Commanded by The Usability Kingdom, and then My Way, which is what Frank is facing when dealing with the Business Decision Kingdom.

And then there are the mulitude of web site and software app users with all their preferences, some of whom like the extra help a "click here" may offer.

This is why I choose to keep pointing out to stakeholders that they must take into consideration their objectives, business and functional requirements and understand their target market or audience, above all.

Easy for me to say. Much harder to actually do :)

Scratch, it's such a pleasure when you stop in! Thank you :P

#37 cre8pc

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 09:07 AM

They swear clicks and conversions increase when we add 'click here' to our links and they are constancly going over our site usage stats.


Great idea for research. It may be out there already...I'll try to hunt for it. (If Bill, The Research Guy doesn't beat me to it!)

#38 Ransak

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 09:14 AM

Are you inclined to agree?


Like I said, my sensibilities agree with scratch. I don't check the site statistics so I can't disagree. I only have their word to go by.

Frank V.

#39 polarmate

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 10:26 AM

@behindTheScenes: I disagree with the idea that young markets need 'click here' to help clarify a link. Younger web users learn and adapt quicker.

I agree with behindTheScenes but I think like Scratch!

Our demographics showed that we had mainly older women, who are not tech savvy in our target audience (read AOL'ers who need to be told how to scroll to the right and down in their AOL window before they can get to the browser's scrollbars :roll:). We have 'To read the article click here' all over the place. We are moving away from this but we often get: "Your web site does not work. Please print the article and send it to me." Things have improved over the past 3-4 years but we need to maintain a balance between stating the obvious and creating web pages the way they should be.

#40 sanity

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 06:08 PM

we need to maintain a balance between stating the obvious and creating web pages the way they should be

Well said Manisha. It's a fine line indeed.

On some sites I've definitely seen conversions go up with CTAs that include Click Here. I'm amazed at the number of people that just don't read a page properly and miss the most obvious information.



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