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Things I Can't Believe I Said #850

There should be a mandatory lash of the cane for every use of the phrase "click here".

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
jongibbs
Mar. 16th, 2012 05:33 am (UTC)
Eek!

Even if I preface it with 'If you'd like to read them,'?
barry_king
Mar. 16th, 2012 10:05 am (UTC)
Absolutely!

And it really does need to be a serious punishment, otherwise the temptation to ignore it will always win. It's like Singapore's death penalty for drug smuggling. It's the only way to prevent drug-running in a culture obsessed with money. Which is why I also strongly advocate for the death penalty in the case of persons who wear their baseball caps on backwards.

But there is a good reason not to use "click here". It's inappropriate, it's lazy, and it's bad information management.

Firstly, it's inappropriate. The only instruction on a door should be there if the use of the door is unclear. "Push" and "Pull" for example, if the door opens in only one way. Still better, use a pushplate on the push side and a handle on the pull side. Can you imagine the waste if every door had a large "Go through door" instruction on it?

But it's also inappropriate in another way. There is only one use for a link: to take you from this location to another. But you don't necessarily use a mouse. If you're Stephen Hawking, you use an eyeball selection and blink sequence. If you are using a voice interface for the blind, you say the text that was just spoken (and imagine how difficult that would be if there were two dozen "click here"s on a page).

Secondly, it's lazy: Any portion of a sentence can be hyperlinked. The portion of the sentence that describes the material on the other end of the link is the appropriate anchor for that link. That way, the person following the link knows what to expect on the other end and can make a deliberate decision on whether to go there. It is to the benefit of both parties for the author of some hypertext to provide this choice to the reader.

Also, if there is a variety of information on the other site, the reader may be interested in only one or two parts of that mass of information. A hypertext document can be accessed by anyone for any reason, irrespective of the original intention of the author. By providing more than one link when there is more than one target being described in the author's text, the author's effort reduces the amount of time wasted by the reader trying to find all the elements the author is dicussing at the remote location. When you consider that many thousands of readers may have to go through the same hunt for the material, this overall wasted time is a blot on the reputation of the author's material.

Lastly, it's bad information management. If the text you have linked does not provide information about the destination of the link, how can automated systems, like search engines, compile accurate information on why you have drawn interest to the material at the other location? It benefits both the linker and the linkee for that relationship to have some bearing on why a search engine has found a connection between the two. "Click Here" says nothing, provides no useful information, and is, appropriately, jettisoned by the algorithms that drive search engines.

So PLEASE don't use "click here". Always use a title, a section of a sentence, a list of documents rather than "click here"!
jongibbs
Mar. 16th, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
Lol, you've really thought this through, haven't you? :)
barry_king
Mar. 16th, 2012 10:33 am (UTC)
Made my first website in 1993. 'Nuff said, eh? ;)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )