Like a weirdo with a windowless van and a pocket full of candy, the words ‘click here’ have become synonymous with the action of ‘running away’ for good designers, developers and marketers online. And for good reason. 5 of them, in fact.
‘Click Here’ had a cushy job years ago when people had much less of a clue as to what to do when visiting a website. And the guy who gave ‘click here’ a job must not have had many other creative applicants.
In the earlier days of growing Internet use, the general populace needed some coaxing and coddling to get them to the next step in the usability funnel. ‘Click Here’s’ job was to entice, convince and even help people along the way. He must have gotten into some bad crap because he started hanging with the wrong crowd and it shows.
Before you knew it, people were getting bombarded with his presence and the lack-luster experiences after doing what he said. The uniqueness of the message and the mystery of what lied on the other side of the click became precarious. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people got wary.
But, as people got smarter and more discerning, websites did too. Great designers, developers and marketers found new ways to lead people through the usability of a website and their applications while making the experience more meaningful and useful.
Reason #1 Not to Use ‘Click Here’: People Are Smarter
Most people don’t like to be played down to and because of this, their Internet ‘smarts’ have upped the ante. They know how to navigate a site and applications pretty well, so don’t treat them like they’re stupid.
Reason #2 Not to Use ‘Click Here’: New Devices
People access the web in different ways and with different types of browsers and with differing abilities, so the old ‘click here’ button may just be rendered useless in some cases.
Reason #3 Not to Use ‘Click Here’: Search Engines & Search
I’d be remiss not to mention the value of descriptive link anchor text and its value for SEO. The search engine will use the context of the destination page in relation to what the link states in the first place (hint: use a keyword or derivative of it for better clarification to the search engines).
Reason #4 Not to Use ‘Click Here’: Lack of Actionable Focus
The statement in question lacks creativity and actual meaning in relation to the action you’re requesting. I said people aren’t stupid, but they also can’t read website minds. They want to know what to expect on the other side of the click because they are scanning your page or application for the actions they are going to take (or not take). So, be descriptive and less generic — make the design and the content connect as one and leave people with an experience and not a directive.
Reason #5 Not to Use ‘Click Here’: Things Change, So Should You
Things change online, like attitudes, trends and expectations. Your audience is expecting you to follow-suit and present a more inviting and descriptive experience. They’re used to it by now. It’s almost silly now to use the phrase.
Learn more about Joe Schaefer. Click here.
Learn more about Joe Schaefer
If you feel the urge to hire, or rehire, ‘click here’ get into a support group or enroll in a web usability class here in 2011.