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?
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.”
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
“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.
Sirus Media created my website in record time. Fellene Gaylord not only created a BEAUTIFUL website, she seemed to intuit on some grand level exactly what I was visioning. The process was so painless and her follow-up help so handy, that if I needed multiple sites, Sirius would be my go to for sure!
At the end of the project she topped it off with a great training session build around a wonderful guide with everything I need to know to maintain the site. For companies, especially small one, who want a site that looks like it costs a lot, but want great value for a reasonable price, contact Fellene.
Working with Fellene on my new website was a delight. She patiently and professionally guided me through the easy and the hard parts. She has great design sense as well as excellent web coding skills—a rare combination. I especially appreciated that she was on top of every detail, responded quickly to my requests, and was unflappable when I changed my mind.
Thanks so much for the great attention to detail and making sure all these small but critical things are working as they should! This is what separates the men from the boys in consulting work! Sorry to use such a sexist analogy, but it is so apt.
Sirius Media has been providing smart websites for small businesses from our office in Portland, Oregon area since 2007.
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