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I have a request from a user to remove the link from the text and ONLY have the "open new window" icon be what is clickable for that link.

The reason is that the text is something he wants to copy and paste to add to a filter while others want to see the destination of that text in a new window.

He found in Confluence that they allow the "open new window" icon to be the only clickable item, however it's an option for the text along with other related actions like "Hyperlink", "Edit link", and "Display URL".

In our application, the text is an IP Address or Hostname which when clicked, brings the user to that IP Address or Hostname opened in a new window. We have the text linked and clickable with an icon (not clickable) next to the text indicating it will open in a new window.

What is the standard convention for whether the icon itself should be clickable and the only clickable item next to the text?

My gut is that this is not needed but can't find anything definitive. I plan on asking customers and other users today but curious from the community their thoughts.

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What is the standard convention for whether the icon itself should be clickable and the only clickable item next to the text?

I cannot recall any strict convention for that case – whether the icon should be the only clickable item next to the text depends on the context. There are some examples when it happens:

  • tooltips (question mark icon is clickable)

google tooltip example

  • copying to clipboard (copy icon is clickable)

enter image description here

In our application, the text is an IP Address or Hostname which when clicked, brings the user to that IP Address or Hostname opened in a new window.

If users are used to clicking these links, they might react badly to taking this feature away from them. Maybe the safer solution to your problem, would be adding "Copy link" button next to the text.

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  • Thank you. I was searching for a common paradigm and you both helped confirm for me that it's really user feedback and use case driven. – Kristen Yerardi Mar 17 at 21:38
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The reason is that the text is something he wants to copy and paste to add to a filter while others want to see the destination of that text in a new window.

As long as the text is easily selectable, I see no problem in having the text being part of the link as well. An example is your UX Stack Exchange user card: I can start selecting a centimeter or so right of your username and select it, while it's still a link to your profile page.

enter image description here

The 'icon' here is your avatar, the purple box with a white K. You see it's clickable as well. Selecting the text even works on a touch screen, I just tested it on my iPhone.

In our application, the text is an IP Address or Hostname which when clicked, brings the user to that IP Address or Hostname opened in a new window.

It definitely makes sense to make that a hyperlink. An alternative is to never have those links, but always display an icon which is clickable. I guess consistency is key here. If users know they can't click the icon, they won't try anymore after a few times.

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