Don’t “Click Here”

You’re writing content for your website, and would like to point your user to the correct link for more information. Something like “for more on this, click here”. It seems to be a pretty common technique for websites, but using the phrase “click here” actually affects the usability, accessibility, and the way users interact with your website.

Make your links descriptive.

When writing your content, you want to make sure it’s short, to the point, and scannable. So the problem with using “click here” is that it hides what the user is clicking. The text around the link explains what they’re clicking, but they have no idea just by reading the link itself. By forcing the user to read the paragraphs or sentences around the link, you’re delaying their ability to quickly glance and scan content for the information they’re looking for.

Even more, what about a sentence or section that uses multiple links? You don’t want your users reading “click here”, “here”, and “here”. Not only does that make it hard for the user to differentiate between each link, but they also need to memorize which “here” they clicked on to get back to the information they were looking for.

Make it easy for the user and be as descriptive with the link as possible. Instead of “to follow the Georgia Department of Labor's podcasts and updates on Facebook and Twitter, click here and here”, rewrite your content with a descriptive link such as, “follow the Georgia Department of Labor's podcasts and updates on Facebook and Twitter”. Linking to nouns and proper nouns are more immediate and give users a better idea of what they’re clicking, without having to read the entire content.

Emphasize the content, not the device.

We’re in the age of mobile technology, where someone can have all of the information they need, all of the time, in a moment’s notice on their smartphone or tablet. So would it make sense that now the term “click” is no longer applicable? Touch, swipe, tap — all of these words could also make sense, but is that really the action you’re trying to convey?

If a verb needs to be used for the link, think about ones that relate to the content you’re trying to display. Instead of “ Download this pdf file. click to see the Advanced Training Maual”, use “ Download this pdf file. view manual ” or “ Download this pdf file. view the Advanced Training Manual ”. This takes the action away from the user interacting with their device, keeps them engaged with the website, and focused on the task of the content.

Keep accessibility in mind.

In the same way a user doesn’t want to read “click here and here”, a user with a screen reader doesn’t want to hear “link click here and link here”. At best, it’s annoying to the user, and at worst, tells them nothing about the link. A visually impaired user with a screen reader can even request a list of links on a page, and the title of “click here” in that list is not helpful. Furthermore, users with screen readers don’t use a computer mouse to “click”, but instead use their keyboard or voice to activate links, making the term “click” even more meaningless.

The challenge is to make your links communicate “click here” without actually saying “click here,” and it's pretty easy to do. Keep your links descriptive and focused on the action of the content. This will create a website with increased usability and accessibility for all of your users. When it comes to content, the less work for the user, the easier your website is to use.