26

I have the following text as my signature in some other fora.

Those interested in Arts and Crafts, please Commit to this stackoverflow proposal!

Well, I read somewhere that hyperlinks shouldn't be on words like "this", so though I have excluded the word this and hyperlinked "stackoverflow proposal" but I somehow feel that the words "Arts and Crafts" should have the hyperlink.

Where does it make sense to keep the hyperlink? Why? Any other way to form the statement?

  • 3
    Hyperlink it all. – User112638726 Jul 28 '15 at 8:33
  • 18
    Just a heads up, it's not a "Stack Overflow proposal" it's a "Stack Exchange proposal". – Kevin Brown Jul 28 '15 at 11:42
  • 5
    I think the aversion to "this" would be in "...see this link...", i.e. just the word "this" on its own (an exception might be a list of moderately incidental links to supporting documents, as in "...see this and this and this."). In your case, having this stackoverflow proposal would be fine (and better in my opinion). – TripeHound Jul 28 '15 at 16:09
  • 1
    I like the accepted answer, but I would also say this as a pure point of grammar: what you are linking to is "this stackoverflow proposal", not "stackoverflow proposal". Therefore "this" should be part of the link. – Celada Jul 29 '15 at 16:14
52

The idea of 'click here' being a bad idea originated from data about how people visually scan web pages which show that people don't read online: they skim the page to get the key information. If someone is scanning, 'click here' (particularly if there are lots of them!) links are totally meaningless in isolation: the user has to spend time reading around the page, which takes more time and means they're less likely to do it. 'Stack Overflow proposal' isn't really meaningful in itself — you want to let people know what it's about. In your case, I'd change the copy to something like

Interested in arts and crafts? Please Commit to my Arts and Crafts Stack Exchange proposal!

That way the key information is more visible when someone scans the page.

  • 16
    This is very relevant for blind people using screen readers to surf the web. Most of those have a mode where they only read the link texts and if they are "click here", there is no information as to where the link goes. – toni Jul 28 '15 at 13:59
  • @offbyoni hit the nail on the head. I cannot emphasize this enough. Screen reader software is mostly junk, this not only provides instant feedback for your typical use-case it also solves a major one for your visually impaired folks. – Mike McMahon Jul 29 '15 at 4:32
  • You changed the perspective of the sentence from Second person to First person. Other than that your solution is totally agreeable. – insidesin Jul 29 '15 at 8:13
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    I would think that "My" should be part of the link in this example as it improves context especially for users with screen readers – Matt Wilko Jul 29 '15 at 13:08
11

It doesn't matter one bit.

To get on my soapbox for a second, one of the biggest problems of non-professional UX is that people will read some article or other, containing some specialized advice or guidelines, with specific reasoning, appropriate for specific circumstances. But they won't remember any of the "specific" parts, they will just think that the advice is universal and set in stone. I've recently seen literally dozens of people quoting Luke Wroblewski's "Dropdowns should be the UI of last resort", completely ignorant of the fact that he was only talking about mobile. Now they will be trying like hell to avoid dropdowns everywhere, at any cost to the user.

Let's examine your case. One of the popular articles on "don't use 'click here'" is Why Your Links Should Never Say Click Here over on Smashing Magazine. Your "don't link the word 'this'" point is a subset of this more general rule. Let's look at the reasons it cites. I happen to disagree with some of them, but let's even say that they're all good advice.

  1. "Click" puts too much focus on mouse mechanics. You're not saying "click", you're saying Commit, so you're fine.
  2. 'Here' conceals what the users are clicking. This is the most pertinent point, since "this" is equivalent to "here". You're very explicit in that they're clicking the SO proposal, so you're fine.
  3. Link to nouns, not verbs. You're linking to the proposal, you're fine.
  4. End on a link. Your link is at the end of the sentence, you're fine.
  5. Link to specifics. You could do better here by using the actual name of the proposal, but still no harm done IMHO. And you're being very clear in that they're navigating to the proposal, not to some unknown destination.
  6. Make links click with users without saying 'click here'. You have a perfectly good call to action, you're fine.

To add one reason of my own - this rule originated back when the text of the incoming link had a crucial impact on the SEO ranking of the page. So it was important for the site owner that people use its name instead of a generic "here". It may still have some impact, but it's nowhere near what it used to be. And in any case it was a selfish reason of the destination site owner, it didn't have much to do with concern for the users.

Bottom line - in your case it simply doesn't matter, you can do whatever you like. Personally I would actually add it to the link.

5

I think how you have placed the hyperlink is fine.

There are various rules out there for using hyperlinks on a sentence like Vitaly explained.

Personally for me, if the link was to take me to a different page I'd expect the sentence to be constructed so that there is an explanation

(e.g: "Those interested in Arts and Crafts, please Commit to")

followed by the hyperlink.

(e.g: "this stackoverflow proposal!")

But there are cases ofcourse, where this is not applicable.

While it is good practice to avoid making words like "this" or "click here" hyperlinks, it is also equally important, whatever you make into a hyperlink can be recognised as a hyperlink.

You might find these tips suggested by Interaction Design Org useful for your case,

  • Keep it blue. Every major application and most websites use blue texts for links, this means blue triggers our automatic understanding that the text is a link.
  • Use nouns (occasionally in conjunction with verbs) as the best links.
  • Place links at the end of sentences where possible.
  • Be specific about the destination
1

For accessibility (screen readers, this is fine. (But less than 5% of the market for a general website) The reason "Here" and "Click Here" are bad is because they are useless words. They provide no context. This isn't an accessibility issue; it is a usability issue.

There's an overwhelming amount of evidence that website visitors don't read, they scan. They scan for links to find the link they want to click on next. If your link says "click here" and the user has to read the text around the link to find out what it is for, you are adding to their cognitive load, meaning they are less likely to continue on.

The same thing holds true for "Click here for special offers" and "For special offers, click here". You are still adding to the users' cognitive load because now your links have additional words that are completely unnecessary.

As long as your links look like something that the user can click on (and if they aren't, you are doing something wrong), then things like "here" and "click here" are a complete waste of space.

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