Many web designers sometimes find that they want users to click specific links, but don’t know how to encourage them to act accordingly. Designers are tempted to literally urge people by using words like “click this link!”. However, before they give in to this temptation, they need to know that using wrong words on links can negatively affect user experience. Link titles shouldn’t cause major accessibility issues and they should be relevant to content. Asking users to click a link may take their attention away from the website’s theme. Besides, they already know how a link works, which can be activated through a mouse click or a tap on the screen.
It is unnecessary to call attention to the well-known mechanics. Instead of bringing focus on content and interface, wrong use of words diverts their attention from what’s important. Encouraging people to click a link may also offend some people, suggesting that they are dumb enough to neglect that links should be clicked.
There are better ways for encouraging people to click a link. Designers could choose proper verbs that relate well to user’s tasks. There are always more relevant and better verbs to choose.
While using the word “click” encourages people to move their mouse, task-related verbs can help them to understand what lies behind the link. This makes them aware of the benefits of clicking the link and stay engaged with the content they get.
Direct encouragement to click a link also conceals what’s beyond the link. Web designers may add some text around the link to explain what users will be getting. But, it is impractical to ask users read a text around the link to understand it. This would impede them from taking direct and quick route of clicking the link itself. Some designers add a significant amount of text, slowing down the whole process significantly. Users should be able to skip any verbose text and go directly to the link. Not only that, multiple links with each saying “click here!” can be confusing for users. In some cases, they need to open each one to identify them. It is better to label each link with things that describe what users would get. This makes distinguishing between each links becomes much easier.
However, if designers still find that they need to use the words “click here” to get visitors see and click the link; then there could be a problem on how their links are styled. One of the most common mistakes is to use nearly similar colors between links and the rest of the text. This could make users having a hard time locating a link. It is necessary to apply greater contrast to links, through shapes and colors. Words used on links may say a lot about a website. There are a number of ways to help web designers make the most of links in their sites.
Use Proper Nouns
Web designers should use proper nouns for labeling their links. Many of them find that concrete nouns are the best choice. They are more vivid and immediate, giving users a good idea of what they would get after clicking a link. Well-chosen nouns are more appropriate because they represent what user needs. Verbs are vaguer when used as anchors and they are unable to give users clearer pictures of what they’ll get. On the other hand, nouns allow users to scan the link anchor easily and without having to read a sentence or paragraph. It is possible to use a combination of nouns and verbs on links, but this can be too lengthy.
Link anchors should be very specific. As an example, if web designers are linking to a software file, it is not a good idea to use a general word like “File”. Instead use a relevant title, such as the name of the software. A proper labeling format used for the text might be “download the!”
Put the Link at the End of the Sentence or Paragraph
Another good idea is to structure a sentence or paragraph so that a link can appropriately fall at the end. People would understand what a link means and it is also easier to spot. Users can take action quickly instead of scanning the whole webpage to find the aforementioned link.
Web designers who still insist on using direct words to encourage people to click a link should be aware the effect it brings on the experience. The big challenge is to make a link says “click here!”, but without using the words “click here!” themselves. There are a number of effective ways to achieve this, although this may take some effort and thought on web designers’ part. In the end, it would be visitors who benefit from the experience.