In a desktop application, our users browse a lot of tables. Some cells contain links. Link texts look the same as other cells', except from when hovering, when they turn blue and underlined.
Here is a table with record rows representing persons. Opening a record shows all details of a person. But I could also choose to instead open the person's company directly from the person list by clicking the link in the company column:
We are combining these three behaviours:
- Double click anywhere on a row to open the record in a new window.
- Click anywhere except on a link, to select the row. (the "Maria" row in the image)
- Click on a link to follow the link. (Clicking on "1 2 3 ..." opens that company). Most columns do not contain links, though.
The problem is that users happen to unintentionally click these links.
How do I modify the link click action so that the unintentional link clicking is avoided, while both keeping the convention of action 1 and 2 above, and keeping the easy access to the link?
What I have tried so far
I thought about minimizing the target area by using a button instead of linking the text, that only shows on hover. But I cannot find a great place to position it at:
I also thought about requiring an extra step, but popping up a menu on clicking a link just feels wrong.
I got more ideas on how to avoid it, but what I really need is a good reasoning which to choose, and why. Preferably as conventional as possible.