It is used all over the place. Click here to get this coupon. Click here to send us your story. To visit our webpage click here. It’s simple, direct and devoid of any clues. Out of context on the page, it is a meaningless call to action.
As a designer committed to enhancing web usability and clear communication, I believe using “Click here” as a web link is a bad idea. And the WC3, the worldwide authority on web standards and best practices, agrees with me.
Here are 5 ways that “Click here” violates both web standards and best practices.
- The link provides no usability clues, because it doesn’t tell you what you’ll be able to do or can expect to find when you get there.
- It’s not accessible for the blind for the same reason. Providing clues to those who use a screen reader to navigate the web is not just polite — for government and public agencies, it is the law. For the rest of us, including accessibility in our web designs is simply good practice for an aging population.
- It’s bad for search engine optimization (SEO) because it tells search engines nothing about the purpose of the link. The words are generic when they could be hot, juicy, descriptive keywords. Using keywords in strong, descriptive links will beef up your SEO scoring.
- You won’t find any lazier copywriting anywhere. This overused phrase is a cliche that focuses on the mechanics of using the link instead of the benefit the visitor will receive.
- A web visitor deserves your respect, and “Click here” implies they are stupid. This far down the road we do not need to tell people how a web link works. Hello — how do you think they got here?
“Click here” is just another way of saying “You idiot. Put your mouse or cursor over this blue underlined text to proceed to somewhere you know nothing about.” It’s like having “turn page” at the bottom right hand corner of a book instead of page numbers.
Please join me in stamping out the use of “Click here” for web links whenever you have the opportunity. Better yet, send me prime examples of “Click here” used online. I’m starting a collection.
People use websites to make decisions—from what product to buy to what health treatment to seek.  When someone consults a website, there is a precious opportunity not only to provide useful information but also to influence their decision. To make the most of this opportune moment, web professionals need to understand the rhetorical concept of kairos… saying or doing the right thing at the right time.”
via A List Apart: Articles: Words that Zing.
I often find myself trying to explain to my clients how writing for the web is different than other types of writing. Often it boils down to the need to be direct and clear, use the active voice, include scannable subheads, usable links, and calls to action.
In this delightful article on A List Apart, Colleen Jones explains how words weave together to enable the web visitor to hit your ideal target. This creative and focused use of copy is just as critical to a satisfying and usable web experience as visual design and information design.
Its the third leg of the usability stool.
She provides some great examples, particularly in regards to healfh care copywriting. Having spent a couple years as the web designer for OHSU’s Center for Women’s Health, I have struggled with crafting engaging and accurate health content that is actionable and not scary.She provides some great snippets from STD websites that show how varying approaches affected outcomes.
One struggle she doesn’t include in this article is getting buyin from the client, who often do include medical professionals and administrators who feel it should
- just like the print version
- written to their level of education
- include every little detail.
- look like the website they built in 1997
But that is the topic for another blog.
“What we find changes who we become” are the words written across the top of information architect Peter Morville’s book, Ambient Findability. These important words remind us that each experience, each sentence is a possible platform for change in our readers.
via A List Apart: Articles: You Can Get There From Here: Websites for Learners.
Interesting essay by Amber Simmons on A List Apart explores how the web fulfills expectations for educational discovery. She and I have both spent hours of our childhood browsing the encyclopedia.
The discussion of why the City wants free work from aspiring designers rages on. I am delighted to see that our Creative community is standing up for itself. Good job team!