I have a small section in the sidebar in which some links (not all) can become too long and use up multiple lines, I'd like to know whether it matters and how much it maters if I cut these off to keep things clean.

For example, I have two links below, which one results in more clicks?

Would it also matter where you cut off the link title, for example:

Are there any studies on which way is best for linking to news articles?

  • 2
    It's only an anecdotal, single datapoint, but ... personally, (unless I can tell already based upon the link title I'm not interested) any cut off link title will make me hover, hoping to get a tooltip with the full title. If such a tooltip is there, the link will be treated exactly the same as the non-cut-off version, and if it isn't, the entire page will likely be left because it looks click-baity. I'd be interested to learn whether that behaviour matches a larger group of users (at least among the subset of users who are aware of tooltips). Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 10:26

2 Answers 2


Answer to your question is Yes. Because...

The ellipsis in navigation pattern has a complete different meaning - it says:

In desktop applications:

When it appears in the name of a button or a menu item, an ellipsis character (...) indicates to the user that additional information is required before the associated operation can be performed. Specifically, it prepares the user to expect the appearance of a window or dialog in which to make selections or enter information before the command executes.

Source: http://www.siolon.com/blog/abusing-ellipses/

enter image description here

For Web:

(1) be consistent with mental models and
(2) you must test the fool out of it.

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The solution here would be:

Show a complete link and wrap it to second line if needed.

  • 1
    Very interesting, I had never realized what those ellipsis meant in apps. I think sidebars (with links to posts) and app menus (with action buttons/links) don't necessarily need to respond in the same way.
    – Alvaro
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 11:35

I don't know about researches on the topic, but I'll write some thoughts.

I would separate this in two different things:

  1. How to handle long lines (or line clamping):

If you are in lack of space you could truncate the line. In the former link you can see different ways, but I would go for the ellipsis one. To me it looks cleaner and understandable.

The cut should be done in a meaningful point, so it is understandable enough. This might be a matter of marketing strategy and the expectation you want to create to the user (think of those suggestive ads with a catchy title that hide the second part of the title).

  • More suggestive than clear: Are people more likely to ...

  • More clear (clear enough I'd say) than suggestive: Are people more likely to click on a link ...

  1. Multiline links:

In my opinion these can be alright, as long as it is clearly separated from the next line (which might or not be a link):

  • Not do:

Are people more likely

to click on a link with

a complete title?

This is a second link

that gets mixed with

the upper one.

  • Preffered:

Are people more likely

to click on a link with

a complete title?


This is a second link

that doesn't get mixed

with the upper one.

Another approach would be to leave the link in a completely different place such as:

Are people more likely

to click ... - Read Article

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