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I have a list of items laid out as a table:

    Title                                               Reported On  Status
    The lamb that Mary had went missing                 12 Mar 2014  New
    Lost a wallet during the night in New York          08 Apr 2014  Read
    Mister Mooves' tree did not have a swing available  23 May 2014  Resolved

I want to add a hyperlink for the user to be able to click and view the details of each entry in this table-list.

What are the good and bad for using the Title as hyperlinks versus using a separate column for an icon (e.g. magnifier) or a dedicated "view" text hyperlink. Also, in general, should long text and paragraphs be used for hyperlinking? Hyperlinking the Titles also make it unfriendly for text selecting and copying.

EDIT: Just thought I'd add my observations here.

Users tend to move the cursor over the rows of Titles as they read each line. This activates the hover trigger and causes blinking. Even if I remove all text formatting, the changing cursor is still an issue. However, it also make it very convenient for the user to click into the link once they find what they want because the mouse is already on the Title link.

If I put an icon to the far left, the user has to move the back to the start of the row to click and has to intently trace the row back to the start, which seems like a lot of effort. But with all the icon/text link tucked to the edge, the overall view is much more consistent and organised especially when I also have other links like "edit", "delete", "parent item", "other view" etc.

  • How long do you actually expect the text to be? I see no problem with links as long as the titles in your example. But then you say "long text and paragraphs". – user31143 Mar 26 '14 at 7:21
  • Then can you suggest how long before it becomes a problem? – Jake Mar 26 '14 at 7:45
  • Being titles, I suppose there is not going to be more than one line per item, except in some border cases, right? – PatomaS Mar 26 '14 at 8:05
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Simple solutions usually are the best.

Links should be descriptive, there is nothing wrong with having a long text as a link. We are used to short links which are totally inappropriate, like "click here" and that affects our judgement.

Having an icon is something that users will understand, specially if you use an icon that makes sense and add a descriptive title to it. But, having a wider area to click, is much easier, plus they most probably already have the cursor on the text.

You mention the hover trigger. If you have an action happening when the user hovers over the title, that may intefere with the link if it's on the same text; if that is the case, and the hover action can not be moved to another part or icon, then the link to go to the information mentioned on the title, would have to be somewhere else, either an icon or a text link after the tile like the common "view more ..."

If what you mention about the blinking of the hover is the transition of the arrow cursor to the hand cursor, I'm sure that is not a big problem.

On any case, if you use text as the link, and you can modify the design a bit, make the clickable area a bit taller that the text itself, that way you help even further the user.

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There is no problem with lines of text as in your example being used as links, with perhaps occasionally longer ones. Using the title as the link is intuitive and keeps the design simple.

The hover behavior of the link is not going to be an issue unless you have something really flashy and distracting happen with the hovering (which is a bad idea anyway).

The only case in which I would not do this is if the text is regularly much longer than what is shown above. For example, if most entries have several lines, it would be better to use a separate button. Highlighting multi-line chunks of text as links usually won't work stylistically. I wouldn't worry about it if only the occasional entry has a couple of lines though.

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There is no harm in making Title as hyperlink as long as the titles are following the standard convention of links so that user gets to know immediately about where to click.

An icon on left with each row can cause a clutter. Maybe you can display icon on hovering of a row.

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