LukeW: The Secret Lives of Links

Interesting post worth reading:

In his presentation at An Event Apart, Jared Spool detailed the importance and role of links on Web pages. Some notes:

  • On the Walgreen's site, 21% of people go to photos, 16% go to search, 11% go to prescriptions, 6% go to pharmacy link, 5% go to find stores. Total traffic is 59% for these five links. The total amount of page used for these 5 links is ~4% of page space. The most important stuff on the page occupies less than 1/20th of the page.
  • This violates Fitts's law. The bigger and closer, the easier a target is to hit. So we're often using the real estate of Web pages poorly.
  • Product manager win is using the screen space on Web sites to communicate “messages” people don’t care about.
  • Make real estate reflect the importance of links. Link copy needs to communicate what the user will get. The links have to take the user to where they want to go.
  • Nobody goes to a Website just to visit. They have a reason. Trigger words serve the goal of the user. They trigger the user to click/take an action. When trigger words are well done, they get the user to the content they want and signal where to click.
  • It's easy to know when your website scent is bad. Use of the back button, pogo-sticking, and using search are all signs that the scent of your links is off.
  • Usage patterns are the same across all websites. In 15 years (and thousands of sites) things have not changed much. Only 42% find what they are looking for. 58% do not find what they are looking for. For these people the scent is not coming through.