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Re: What instead of click here?

From: Jim Ley <jim@jibbering.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 00:12:12 +0100
Message-ID: <007901c15118$0e7fb540$593d70c2@7020CT>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Danny Ayers:
> The meaning of 'click here' is well known to any regular browser of the
> irrespective of their tools, and new or old users with a mouse should
> no trouble with the terminology. It may well be (briefly) unfortunate to
> users of hypertext that don't have a device without an associated
> feature, but the use of a generally familiar term will improve
> accessibility.

I agree that few people are likely to be significantly confused by click
here, if it's in the context of the page.  However there are a number of
scenarios where it doesn't help.

Link lists as discussed.

Robots - Non human user agents [1] would have great difficulty
understanding from context what the link pointed to, especially if it
pointed to a resource it couldn't pass as is common in "[click here] to
download." with the filename just MM_0_2.tgz, there's nothing the robot
can infer (especially where there are more than one on the page.) [2]

Different linearisations.  links using "click here" or similar are often
laid out in tables and such like, such that it's not always easy to
realise which goes with which when the linearised differently to how the
designer imagines, this problem whilst really a problem outside the links,
it would be so much less of an issue if the link text was meaningful on
its own, the confusion would disappear.

> But in any case, aren't there (at least) two pieces of information here
> deal with : the linked text itself and the alt info?

A does not have ALT, TTITLE maybe, I'm still confused why "click here"
would be preferable than what would be put in the title (click here in the
title can't be right by definition can it?)

>I don't personally think the argument regarding the
> unsuitability of 'click me' for link listing agents holds water as a
> case - isn't it is up to the designers of the agents to make them more
> accessible? (for example, including in the listing the title of the
> page).

There's lots in the guidelines that pander (rightly) to what is available
today, also of course as above, the link is not always a resource that a
robot can get information about.

Primarily I can see a number of areas where accessibility is improved by
discouraging click here, and having meaningful link text, and there's
no-one I can see that suffers, if we can easily deliver usability and
accessibility improvements where no-one suffers should we not encourage


[1] Robots obviously improve accessibility, for all.
[2] Google already places considerable weight to the contents of the link
text in ratings.
Received on Tuesday, 9 October 2001 19:13:04 UTC

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