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  1. #1
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    'Click here' best practice?

    Hi -- recently, I've started to help maintain a website geared towards helping recently-arrived immigrants (ESL classes, social service referrals, etc.).

    The website is scattered with links that say 'click here' -- normally, I would remove those and try to incorporate links directly into the text, but some of the potential users are at a very basic computer level (as in, "how do I use a mouse" and "how do I use Microsoft Word" level) and might be unfamiliar with the internet.

    I was wondering if removing the "click here" links might confuse part of our user base -- is it better to keep them, or is there a better way of writing links that isn't as clunky but is equally clear?

    Are there any accessibility guidelines available about writing websites for absolute beginners? All the ones I've encountered seem to assume that the user has at least a nominal understanding of how to use the internet.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy TheRaptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deflect View Post
    The website is scattered with links that say 'click here' -- normally, I would remove those and try to incorporate links directly into the text, but some of the potential users are at a very basic computer level (as in, "how do I use a mouse" and "how do I use Microsoft Word" level) and might be unfamiliar with the internet.

    I was wondering if removing the "click here" links might confuse part of our user base -- is it better to keep them, or is there a better way of writing links that isn't as clunky but is equally clear?
    Normally, what I do with my websites is incorporate the link into the text somehow, i.e "Check out my [link]awesome product[/link]" instead of "Check out my awesome product. Click here" or "Click here to check out my awesome product". And most of the time, if it looks like a link and acts like a link, people will think its a link and click it and wont be confused by it (except maybe my 90 year old grandma ). Moreover, I find the first approach to be much clearer then the latter two.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deflect View Post
    Are there any accessibility guidelines available about writing websites for absolute beginners? All the ones I've encountered seem to assume that the user has at least a nominal understanding of how to use the internet.
    SitePoint has a really good book on accessibility and such here: Thinking Web: Voices of the Community » SitePoint.

  3. #3
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Click here is mouse centric and makes no sense out of context so even if English is not their first language or they are Luddite, it is still a poor choice of wording for a link.

    Especially when they progress; if they cannot read all the other text; a link saying 'click here' won't help much either. Once they learn what a link is even if they cannot follow the full paragraph of surrounding text they'll still learn a 'good link' is self descriptive and go mainly by that whereas 'click here' itself means nothing of value.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I read recently someone's account of meeting someone who had no idea how to use a computer (for whatever reason, he was a middle-aged westerner who was always afraid to try to use one).

    The usability person who wrote the article noticed he had no idea how *anything* worked. Not how to use a mouse (I've seen this myself with seniors learning Windows; the concept of moving something below with your hand while something else moves along-with is not easy to get a normal brain around). Not what links meant, how to use a browser, where to get help (and even if he did get help, he didn't know what the help meant).

    Frankly, when building a web page, you have to make some minimal assumptions, no matter who the users are:

    -they have an internet connection. Yes, if you don't have a computer or access to the internet, then your web page is inaccessible. There is no reasonable solution to this, so don't waste your time.

    -they know how to use a computer. Now here, your users don't. That's fine: they will have to learn to use the basic hardware before anything else makes any sense to them anyway. You wouldn't "dumb-down" all the books in the library because someone might enter who was just learning the alphabet, nor would you demand all the books therein were super large-print because some users have bad eyesight. Your users are diverse and when you know your site is targeted to new, ESL, or fragile users, then you *do* take them into account and build things with them specifically in mind... but your site is also teaching them computer and web site conventions, remember. They *will* have to learn what a hyperlink is whether it says click here or <a>look at my vacation pictures!</a>. So let your site be a great place for them to learn those conventions.

    Are there any accessibility guidelines available about writing websites for absolute beginners? All the ones I've encountered seem to assume that the user has at least a nominal understanding of how to use the internet.
    They have to make that assumption just as they have to make the other assumptions (the user knows what a mouse is, the user speaks English, the user is literate), though the best guides will have tips for when your users don't fit those assumptions: can't use a mouse, uses a screen reader, doesn't have popular software or popular 3rd-party plugins.

    I read Jakob Nielsen's alertbox, older articles from UXMovement, and books like Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think!.
    None of those assume the users are absolute beginners, because the majority of users usually aren't for most sites. Kinda like there aren't how-to-use-roads for people who don't know how to work cars. They have to assume you know how to shift, steer, etc.

    When people are learning something for the first time, esp if they are not children, it's the hardest part of using anything for them. This is why we use conventions: they are learned by people and then allow people to auto-pilot those things and concentrate on the subjects or tasks at hand that they came to do.

    So I'm saying: give them good conventions to learn. They will encounter bad pages as well, and be confused probably, but they'll learn those as well.

  5. #5
    Under Construction silver trophybronze trophy AussieJohn's Avatar
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    I'll throw my 2c in here as well.

    "Click here" links are a particular pet-hate of mine.
    If I had a dollar for every time I had to go tell a project manager/copywriter/client that someone, somewhere down the line failed in their understanding of basic usability and teh internets by putting "click here" in their copy somewhere.

    There is a nice article on Build Internet, Don’t Click Here! – Placing Links in Context which is worth a read.

    I also highly recommend the links Stomme posted (Poested? )

    The main argument I generally use is that when a user reads text on a website, they are often scanning for information and links that will get them to the information they seek. "Click here" is not a good indication of where that link goes and what information it might contain. What's worse is that the user now needs to read the content around the "click here" link to get an idea of the context. It seems trivial, but the difference between a happy user and a frustrated user can be measured in milliseconds.
    However if someone would read "Discount coupons for your local widget shop" they'll know exactly where that link goes and what information they're about to find on that page.

    I'm pretty sure I've argued about this for hours with some the copywriters and clients I've dealt with over the years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    So I'm saying: give them good conventions to learn. They will encounter bad pages as well, and be confused probably, but they'll learn those as well.
    ^^ Couldn't agree more.
    var details = {
    . . web: "afterlight.com.au",
    . . photos: "jvdl.id.au",
    . . psa: "usethelatestversion.com"
    }

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I also highly recommend the links Stomme posted (Poested? )
    poested would kinda mean "polished" : )

  7. #7
    Under Construction silver trophybronze trophy AussieJohn's Avatar
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    Hah, as I was writing that it reminded me of this tongue-twister:
    "De koetsier poetst de postkoets met postkoetsenpoets"

    Man... the amount of times I stuffed that one up when I was young :P


    </offtopic>
    var details = {
    . . web: "afterlight.com.au",
    . . photos: "jvdl.id.au",
    . . psa: "usethelatestversion.com"
    }

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    Ahahahaha...

    I like how it sounds like I'm swearing in English when I mention Assepoester... not butt polisher, but basically Cinderella (cleans up where the ashes are in the hearth).


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