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Re: What instead of click here?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 12:44:04 -0400
Message-ID: <006801c150e1$9ba303a0$2cf60141@mtgmry1.md.home.com>
To: "Simon White" <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>, "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
you hit it on the head. <slang>  Let's approach it from the beginning
non mouse user's point of view or from the point of view of cognition.
Click here does not tell me what to do.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
To: "Simon White" <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 11:37 AM
Subject: Re: What instead of click here?

At 04:41 AM 10/9/2001 , Simon White wrote:

>Dear fellow listers,
>I am under the impression that the 'Click Here' text that often appears
on alt tags is a big no-no.

Many of the replies to this have been based on the idea that
"click here" is somehow inherently bad.

There are two reasons one might think "click here" is an
accessibility error -- of those reasons, one is a valid reason
and one is not.

The valid reason:  A link that says "click here" or anything
else that's very generic such as "follow this link" is harder
to use because there's no content in that link nor a sense of
what it actually does.  (The same argument could also be given
for "D" links, by the way!)  The more generic the link, the
more difficult the site is to navigate.  Instead, using more
specific link text is almost always better.  (This reason also
makes sense if you list links out of context, although it
must be stated that doing such and expecting it to work is an
unreasonable assumption given the nature of hypertext.)

The spurious reason:  Some people believe "click here" is bad
because it's "mouse-centric" and "not everyone clicks."  This
type of control over language is misguided and dangerous,
because it is _not_ an accessibility error.  I have never heard
of, for example, a screenreader or keyboard user who was
completely stymied upon encountering "click here" as text.
Everyone in such a situation knows that "click here" is slang
for "select this link", and in truth, nearly every way of
choosing a link, short of voice control, probably involves
a "click" even if it's a keyclick.

So if you're worried about "click here" because it's not
"inclusive" or something, STOP RIGHT THERE, that's a false
premise and it's _not_ what accessibility is about.  Instead
you should be concerned about actual issues of access to
information, ease of use, functionality, and usability.

Note that in many cases (run your own tests if you don't believe
me!), proper use of "click here" -- such as "click here to
download now!" or "click here for page two" -- will improve the
usability of a design, simply because explicit directions are
very useful.

That's my advice on "click here".  The words itself are not and
should not be "taboo", but bad link text is always a problem.
Let's concentrate on that problem, and not try to rewrite
Internet slang.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Tuesday, 9 October 2001 12:44:15 UTC

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