Monday, 21 January 2008

User see, user click

Message to all website developers: People are trained, by a long indoctrination on Windows, Macs old or new, Amiga, BeOS, OS/2, Solaris, Irix and numerous *nix interfaces, to click on icons. Pretty pictures are buttons, and buttons do something when you hit them.

So when you are designing your website, it's okay to do this:


"Label:
URL"

It's okay to do this:


"
Link that describes itself"

It is
not okay to put in an icon and then not make it part of the link. If you have a pretty picture, users will expect it to do something. Vodafone are hideously guilty of this, and they have no excuse for not knowing better. InfoXchange Australia are guilty of this (and sparked off this outlet for simmering resentment) and perhaps could be excused, being a welfare organisation, except that they're an Internet clearing house of information, and really should be hiring website designers who know better.

Cue Graham Garden voice: "Get it right!"

2 comments:

Chrisranjana said...

Good points there. and while on usability, Also when using ICONS as links it pays to use image titles to explain on mouseovers what that icon is about ! Not many will have the patience to click on each icon to know what it leads to !!

Website Developer

Dubito said...

Good point chrisranjana, and to say nothing of blind (or otherwise severely vision-impaired) users who are using screen-reader software and can't make use of iconography.

At my work we have a policy (unwritten, but voiced between those of us who bear any responsibility for web pages) that even static images have an alt tag, even if it's just "Our logo".

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