Craig Francis

Click Here

It is quite common to see the words "click here" used on websites. But have you wondered if this is the best way to advertise a link on the page?

The click

When a link says "click", it typically refers to the sound the primary mouse button creates.

Have you thought about people who use a keyboard to navigate websites? I admit this is not a large crowd, but there are people who do not use a mouse for a variety of different reasons.

For example people who have motor disabilities, they might be unable to accurately use a mouse, so the keyboard may become the primary method of interaction with a website. For anyone who uses a keyboard, the phrase "click here" has no meaning to them... well, some of these visitors have become used to it, but that does not mean we should continue using this potentially confusing phrase.


Moving on from the interactive website, it is still possible to print the page. OK, the reader wont be able to follow the link, but stating that the visitor should "click" an area on the paper wont help. How about giving a few meaningful words to explain where the link will go?


On most browsers, by default, the links are shown underlined in either blue or purple text, where purple is used when the link destination has already been viewed.

Allot of websites change the link colour to fit in with the overall design of the website, so the value of the colour (blue or purple) is starting to disappear... but most websites still do use the underline.

It is because of this convention that nearly all visitors do not need to be told how to identify and use links... they should have done it before (how did they get to the website?), the website does not need to teach the visitor the basics every time.

Screen readers

Now my favourite part of the show, people who use screen readers.

The screen reader software, like JAWS, converts a webpage from the visual display on the monitor, into spoken words, then allows the visitor to interact with that page.

Typically screen reading software is used by the blind, but it also used many other types of visitors, for example the partially sighted and Dyslexic visitors, purely because the software can make it easier to interpret websites.

Keeping with the completely blind visitor in mind though, it can become very confusing when navigating a website... but having said that, have you seen someone use a screen reader? They are fast, very fast.

One of the tools in most screen reader software is the ability to list all of the links on a page.

Imagine reading a page which had references like "to see more about product X, click here". If the page had 3 links, each one with the same link text, the tool for listing the links will be useless. Imagine being told there are 3 links on the page, with the text "click here, click here and click here", which one will you choose to find out more information on product X?

With a bit of thought, the link can be changed to something like "if you want, we do have more information on product X". OK I wont make copy writer of the year, but that should give an idea of how links can be meaningful.


I can see what your thinking though, why should anyone spend a extra few seconds to make meaningful links for such a small audience?

Well, first of all, think what it would by like if you lost your eyesight tomorrow... you are still the same person, but now you should suddenly realise how important these decisions are. Obviously I would not wish this on anyone, but remember that as people are living longer and longer, issues such as degrading visual sense becomes a real problem for most people.

But there is still a very important visitor who is completely blind, its not human and it has never seen anything in its short life, and probably never will... it's the search engine spider, a little robot, like GoogleBot, which is continuously visiting websites to find out as much as possible about their content.

Considering most visitors get to websites using a search engine (sometimes typing the domain name as a search query), these websites should be build to that are easy for the spider to index the website. One step that helps, is though the use descriptive links.

If a link says "product X", then the spider knows that the destination of that link is about "product X".

To find out more about this, I would suggest reading more about PageRank and how it works.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, I don't include comments due to the admin time required, but if you email me, I will reply and make appropriate updates. Also, if you would like to take a copy of this article, please read the terms this article is released under. This article was originally written Wednesday 22nd November 2006 and was updated on Sunday 12th August 2007.