“Click here” to fail.

Posted by on January 29, 2006

I tell my students that if I see “click here” as link text on any of their work, they will automatically fail my course.

Period.

Why? It is low-information content. You have no idea what the destination of the link it.

People usually don’t stop and read everything word for word right away when they first see a Web page. They scan the page first. Their eye jumps from headings, lists, images, and anchors, looking for clues to see if they want to read the page or move on.

Anchor link text stands out from standard content text (otherwise, how will people know that it is a link?) and therefore, tends to draw the eye of the user to it.

So, assuming that the link text catches their eye and all it says is “click here“, they have to waste time moving their eyes around so they can read the context around the link. This is a lot of extra work, which is an absolute waste of time and energy.

People should be able to easily identify the destination of a link without any extra effort. Do these examples tell you anything about where you will go if you use them?

  • Click here
  • Read more

How about these?

  • Today’s weather forecast
  • Latest Toronto news

The first examples offer no clue to their purpose when they are taken out of context. The second group is far more helpful.

Choosing link text is a bit of an art as well as a science. Take this sentence from a real Web page:
Click here to register for our regular newsletter.

You could reword this to:
Register for our newsletter.

Gordon Lanoie (18 Posts)

With a background in Computer Engineering Technology from Red River Community College, Gordon has been active on the digital scene since the mid-1990s. He currently works with all Lanoie clients to determine their needs and to develop affordable, effective online strategies for their businesses and organizations. With a background in teaching internet technology in the late 1990s at Winnipeg Technical College (formerly South Winnipeg Technical Center) and soon after at UWinnipeg PACE (formerly the Division of Continuing Education), Gordon has a broad background with the needs of students as well as administration in the education industry.


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About Gordon Lanoie

With a background in Computer Engineering Technology from Red River Community College, Gordon has been active on the digital scene since the mid-1990s. He currently works with all Lanoie clients to determine their needs and to develop affordable, effective online strategies for their businesses and organizations. With a background in teaching internet technology in the late 1990s at Winnipeg Technical College (formerly South Winnipeg Technical Center) and soon after at UWinnipeg PACE (formerly the Division of Continuing Education), Gordon has a broad background with the needs of students as well as administration in the education industry.