User experience (UX) refers to the experience a person has as they interact with a website (or any computer application). This experience includes the web pages and other visual elements on the site, such as buttons and menus. The goal of UX design is to provide a positive experience that keeps users loyal to the product or brand being advertised.
There are many factors to consider when designing the UX of a website. These include big concepts such as site structure and mobile-responsiveness, as well as smaller details such as the words used on buttons and links. It’s these words that this article addresses.
Reasons to avoid “Click Here”
Links should be informative.
Words matter. They matter to the site visitor and they matter to search engines such as Google and Bing. All too often links and buttons are labeled “Click here.” Why is this a problem?
To really understand why “Click Here” is not satisfactory, think about the way you read and interact with a website. Do you read every single word on the page or are you more likely to scan it to find the information specifically of interest to you? If you’re like most people, you do more scanning than reading.
Links and buttons that are labeled “Click here” don’t provide any information about where those links go. Unless you go back and read the text before the link to understand the context, you’re unlikely to know where you’ll end up. Clicking the link might download a PDF, take you to another part of the same page, to another page entirely, or to a page completely off-site.
Are there words you could use that would be more informative? Let’s say that you are on a magazine website and you are reading an article with links to 15 different recipes. Instead of simply using “click here” as the link to every recipe, the author could instead create link that describe the recipe. For example, using “Learn how to make this chicken soufflé recipe”as the link text clearly identifies it as a link to a recipe for chicken soufflé.
Links should be take into consideration SEO principles.
Every web page and blog post should take into consideration site visitors’ needs and search engine requirements. What does “Click here” tell the search engines? It says “I’m a link” and that is all. When you use a search engine friendly link, such as the one in the example above, the search engines know where the link goes and how it relates to the content on the page.
People know what a link is and they know to click it.
When we first started building websites, using “Click Here” for link text was common practice. As people were learning how the web worked and what they needed to do to progress through a site, they needed some hints. Nowadays, however, people understand the purpose of clicking a button or a link. They don’t need that kind of instruction, and offering that simplistic option can make you appear naive.
The visually impaired also need context.
People with visual impairments often use screen-readers to read the text of web pages aloud. Screen-readers have a scan option, similar to what fully-sighted users do naturally. If every link is titled “Click here,” the user won’t have any context as to which link they need or where the links will take them.
Additionally, those using screen-readers don’t actually click. Frequently they use the keyboard to navigate through the page, and clicking is not applicable. Others use voice recognition and joysticks. In summary, “Click here” simply isn’t an appropriate instruction for the way some people navigate a website.
Words Matter. Style Also Matters.
Now that we’ve explained why we do not recommend creating links using the words Click Here, there is one more link element we’d like to address. That element is link styling.
When links are built using descriptive words, the user has context. When links are styled clearly and consistently, the user can confidently scan a page and identify which words are links, which are headings, and which are plain text. A properly formatted page tells the user that you respect their intelligence and value their time.
Site visitors don’t want surprises. They want to find the information they need and get on with the things that are important to them. When a site is well planned, organized and styled, they are more likely to feel respected and feel positively about your website and your business.