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Many of the blogs and other sites with a front page containing excerpts from articles also include a "Read more" link, or sometimes the text says "Continue reading" or give some other such instruction about where the reader should click if they wish to read the rest of the article.

But is it really so bad to use the title of the excerpt as the link, if it's underlined, or if it changes colour when hovered over, or both?

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    May depend on what happens when you click a link... it's not hard-and-fast, but I would more expect a "Read more" link to expand (elements on) the current page to show more/all of the text, whereas using the title as a link I would be less surprised if it opened / went to a new page showing the full text.
    – TripeHound
    Jun 5, 2019 at 9:07
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    Why not use both? Jun 5, 2019 at 9:30
  • I go with @DarrylGodden. Some people use titles, some "read more". You should try it out with a click-heatmap. You will find out that a roughly equal share of people click on the title even though there is a "read more" and vice versa.
    – marvinpoo
    Jun 5, 2019 at 12:10
  • @DarrylGodden - Because of considerations of space and also tidiness. And if one tries to fit in a "Read more" without using too much space, a page can look cluttered. This is of course only one side of the issue.
    – user127511
    Jun 5, 2019 at 15:01
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    @ruffle Form follows function. Thats the first thing you should learn considering UX. If it looks "cluttered" then find a better way to design it, instead of changing the functionality.
    – marvinpoo
    Jun 6, 2019 at 9:12

4 Answers 4

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Title links commonly open full articles as new pages, so it is appropriate to use them that way. However, the behavior of links that follow summaries is more variable, where... Read More chevron

 

 

 


... they commonly expand the summary, especially when preceded by ellipses or accompanied by a chevron. When it doesn't, it can lead to confusion. However, it may also open the article in a new page, especially when it is styled in the form of a button.

  • If you intend it to expand the summary, precede the link with ellipses or use a chevron to indicate expansion.

  • If you intend it to open the full article, consider styling "Read More" links as buttons to avoid confusion about expected behavior.  Read More

  • You may also use icons to indicate link behavior, such as referring to outside sources or new pages. Read More link out

  • Or use different link descriptions... Full Article


Examples of Expansion

  • Long user reviews or book summaries on Amazon, as in this book, as TripeHound notes.

  • Long textual Facebook posts. (Does not apply to picture posts.)

  • Sidebars in Google search results.

    google sidebar

Examples of Link Outs

  • Bing sidebar. Uses alternate phrases, such as "See more on ____" and "Full Review".

  • Feedly. Uses the phrase "visit website", styled as a button.

Examples of Confusion.

  • IMDB. Most links go to a new page, even when expansion would make sense or be preferred. (Is a new page necessary to see just a few extra lines of information?) But some links expand. They are indicated by chevrons pointing in different directions.

Non-examples. These sites do not use "read more" links after summaries.

  • Washington Post (US), The Guardian (UK), Zeit (DE)

See also:

  • NNG: “Learn More” Links: You Can Do Better

    The proliferation of Learn More links is likely mobile driven... When users decide they want more information, they can tap a link or expand an accordion to get to the less important content. This design pattern is definitely beneficial on mobile...

    ... The phrase is most dangerous when used alone because of its ambiguity and poor information scent. It creates uncertainty, because users don’t know what to expect...

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    Did you click the link? What did you expect to happen? ... Finish Reading
    – 習約塔
    Jun 5, 2019 at 15:58
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    I expected it to expand, mostly because of the added caret. If that wasn't there I would not be so sure what to expect. Jun 6, 2019 at 13:32
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    @DysphoricUnicorn "If that wasn't there I would not be so sure what to expect." – That is why it is useful to include indicators of link behavior in this context. However, considering that users shouldn't be able to add scripts to this site, it'd be pretty impressive (and worrisome) if the text did expand.
    – 習約塔
    Jun 6, 2019 at 14:00
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It's good practice to generally avoid links with highly generic link text such as "read more…", "continue to full article", etc., because they create a major accessibility problem.

If someone uses a screen-reader to access your site, they may jump from link to link in that screen-reader, in which case the only meaningful information for a link's destination must be contained in the link's clickable text. Hearing something as generic as "read more" simply becomes useless.

So, if you provide a page with article excerpts, or somesuch, it's essential for a11y to provide meaningful link texts, e.g., by making an entire article's title clickable.

In short: the basic a11y rule for link (and button) text, is:

Give links a descriptive name so users will know where the link will take them if selected.

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You should go with both solutions. As both link to the same url, then there is no difference.

If you'd test it with a click/tap heatmap, you will find out there is a fair similar amount of people clicking the title as there is that clicks the read more link.

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  • Has there been any published research comparing all three approaches: using both, using only the title, and using only a "Read more"?
    – user127511
    Jun 5, 2019 at 15:05
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    As Tripehound comments, they do not do the same thing.
    – 習約塔
    Jun 5, 2019 at 15:47
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It's important to distinguish between an excerpt (which may be a "lede"), a summary, and a strap line. They each have their place according to what kind of a blog or other site it is.

An excerpt is tricky because it usually breaks off mid-flow, but a sufficiently brief summary of a long article may be difficult to write. I am beginning to think that for my particular needs the right solution is a strap line the whole of which is a link to the full article. The strap line does a useful job after all in many printed newspapers. Or else use titles and leave it at that.

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