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« How Accurate Is Online Information? | Main | Focus Groups versus Usability Testing »

Where's the Web Site Link? ( I'm confused . . . )

How many times have you clicked on something thinking it was a link?

Focus_dir I ran across the article pictured to the right today.  The article about falling ice from the CN Tower in Toronto easily prompts one to watch the related video.  At the end of the short article the reader is prompted to “Click on the video icon to see the ice falling.”  My first natural inclination is to click on the picture to the right of the article.  I quickly found out that this isn’t the link for the video.      

One challenge is that I’ve trained myself to ignore advertising on the screen.  Many users have learned to tune out anything that looks like advertising, including things that aren't advertising. In this case the video icon is directed above the advertising block on the right.  Did I completely miss the link because it was right above advertising?  Two things made finding the video link difficult: informational relationships and linking to the most logical piece of information.

Informational Relationships
If you’re presenting information on a page to the user keep related items grouped together.  It seems logical enough, yet web developers break from this simple standard all the time.  Think in terms of informational relationships. In the case of the CN Tower article having the video link immediately after would have made the most sense.

Making It Linkable
If it looks like a link and it should be a link, make it linkable.  When designing web sites it is very easy to detach form a typical user’s behaviors.  Sometimes a link is put into a page without giving much thought to how a user might interpret the link.  Always look at links from the user’s perspective.

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