Why “Click Here” is a Really Bad Idea

Stop Using Click Here!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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

CSS3 provides new features, fonts and transparency

I went to a great DevGroupNW meeting last night about CSS3 and the very cool features it provides. The speaker was Dave McFarland, a local guy who has written a few Missing Manuals on CSS and web stuff. He shared a lot of information with us in a very short period of time.

Keep in mind, these features won’t work in IE6, but it won’t break anything either, just be sure the underlying styles are functional in IE6. With IE6 now down to 12% of the national brower market, it may not be an important presence on the websites you work on. They are good to go in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

In CSS3 you are now able to:

  • Add icons to links by type (for .pdf or email icons, for example) by creating a unique style for each kind of link by using attribute selectors.
  • Style first or last examples of a style within a container, using the first-child and last-child attributes.
  • Style table rows with the nth-child attribute.
  • Add transparency to a div or by attribute (all the examples of one color, or all h1 tags).
  • Create an alpha channel with the RGBA attribute to exclude type within a transparent container.
  • Add and style text shadows with the text-shadow attribute. There can even be subsequent layers of shadows.
  • Add interactivity with Jquery scripts. Jquery is his recommended flavor of javascript libraries to work with because it works well with CSS3
  • And drum roll please… use custom fonts with the @fontface attribute. It has been the last area of design control available to designers, due to the issue of resident fonts on user’s machines. This allows you to upload a font to the server which is downloaded on demand.

And, by the way, HTML5 and CSS3 will be the new web standard, not XHTML, so you can forget learning XHTML for now.
See the offical specification for HTML5.

Want to learn more? Read Dave’s article on how to add transparencies on your websites with CSS3 on CreativePro.com

Font resources

Learning CSS3

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