Click where?

This has been a long time coming. It’s old, but much of it still applies, and I am truly amazed at how people are still making the same mistakes we made a decade ago. Taken from Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, October 3, 2005: Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005.

2. Non-Standard Links Following are the five main guidelines for links:

• Make obvious what’s clickable: for text links, use colored, underlined text (and don’t underline non-link text). • Differentiate visited and unvisited links.

• Explain what users will find at the other end of the link, and include some of the key information-carrying terms in the anchor text itself to enhance scannability and search engine optimization (SEO). Don’t use “click here” or other non-descriptive link text.

• Avoid JavaScript or other fancy techniques that break standard interaction techniques for dealing with links. In particular, don’t open pages in new windows (except for PDF files and such).

Links are the Web’s number one interaction element. Violating common expectations for how links work is a sure way to confuse and delay users, and might prevent them from being able to use your site.

For example, instead of linking “I just came across an interesting Kickstarter project. For more information, click here” (which provides the user with no information as to where they are going to end up without additionally reading the words around the ambiguous word “here,” try:

I was doing a bit of reading, and I came across an interesting Kickstarter project: Gremolata & Cancellaresca Milanese. A graphic design project in new York, NY, by Russell Maret.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
~ George Santayana. The Life of Reason.

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