Do Not Say Click Here

Do not make it that obvious! Emil Stenström discusses this and advises that the link text should inform the reader about the content it links to. It should be something that the reader can use to decide whether to click on the link or not. This seems pretty logical and obvious once told. But many are guilty, including yours truly (I actually changed text on pages before I wrote this!), of being too lazy to come up with the right text. Roger Johansson gives some more examples. Even W3C has this down as one of the quality assurance tips. Click here will be really useless when there will be no clicks! Use contextual and informative link text!

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Kathy said:

    I read both Roger and Emil’s posts. I had to agree with some of the commenters at Roger’s post. Some people, like my mother, don’t seem to understand that a link has distinguishing features–underlining, a different color, or both–that let you know it is a link. I have had people (not many, I grant you) comment that they couldn’t find the link to the site that I had promised in a blog post. The link was right there, but they failed to recognize the visual clues. And I find using the title of an article excerpt as the link to the complete article to be confusing. As a longtime user of WordPress, I’ve gotten used to it, but I prefer a “Read more” type of link, or even a graphic button that indicates continuation.

    One day we will all understand the conventions of web design, just as when reading the English language, we all know to read from left to right. But we’re not there yet. There is a whole segment of the population, (elderly, for the most part) who just barely navigate the web, don’t know what the word browser means–even though they use one–and need really obvious clues about where to click and what will happen when they do. The real challenge is to design a website that is technically correct and aesthetically pleasing and still accomodates those viewers.

  2. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Yes, I do agree with you Kathy that behavior of the link and that it should standout from rest of the text is not well known or is not followed consistently. I think it is also the fault of WYSIWYG editors which should inform the writer more. W3C does have recommendations, but again they are still not popular.

    I take your point that for some a linked title of the article is not obvious. Like you said it depends on how your blogging tool behaves. I think Read More is still one of the lesser culprits, because it can be read in a context. But there are some cases out there, including some by me, that really provide no information other than that it is a link. I guess things like these should be included in an orientation or something for people who want to write on Web.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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