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10:8 Provide Consistent Clickability Cues

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10:8 Provide Consistent Clickability Cues

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 3 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline




Provide sufficient cues to clearly indicate to users that an item is clickable.


Create links so that users do not have to rely on ‘mouse-overs’ to determine if a text is clickable. Use underline, bullets, arrows, and other symbols consistently to indicate clickable items. Avoid using images as links. Clickable images force the user to study the image and discern whether or not it is clickable. Items that are in the top center of the page, or left and right panels have a high probability of being considered links.


  • Bailey, R.W. (2000b, October). Link affordance. Retrieved November 2005, from
  • 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.
  • Lynch, P.J. & Horton, S. (2002). Web Style Guide (2nd Edition). New Haven, CO: Yale University Press. Retrieved November 2005, from
  • 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.

Poor Example:

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.


Good Example:

A bulleted list of blue, underlined text. These are very strong clickability cues for users.