10:8 Provide Consistent Clickability Cues
Strength of Evidence:
Provide sufficient cues to clearly indicate to users that an item is clickable.
Users should not be expected to move the cursor around a Web site (’minesweeping’) to determine what is clickable. Using the eyes to quickly survey the options is much faster than ’minesweeping.’ Similarly, relying on mouseovers to designate links can confuse newer users, and slow all users as they are uncertain about which items are links.
Be consistent in your use of underlining, bullets, arrows, and other symbols such that they always indicate clickability or never suggest clickability. For example, using images as both links and as decoration slows users as it forces them to study the image to discern its clickability.
Items that are in the top center of the page, or left and right panels have a high probability of being considered links. This is particularly true if the linked element looks like a real-world tab or push button.
Bailey, R.W., Koyani, S., & Nall, J. (2000, September 7). Usability testing of several health information Web sites, National Cancer Institute Technical Report. Bethesda, MD.
Farkas, D.K. & Farkas, J.B. (2000). Guidelines for designing web navigation. Technical Communication, 47(3), 341-358.
Nielsen, J. (1990, March). The art of navigating through hypertext. Communications of the ACM, 33(3), 296-310.
Tullis, T.S. (2001). Web usability lessons learned. Fidelity Center for Applied Technology Technical Report. Fidelity Investments.
With at least seven non-traditional colors for links, the clickability cues for users might lead to confusion as to which links have been visited or not.
A bulleted list of blue, underlined text. These are very strong clickability cues for users.
Related Usability Guidelines: