Don’t You Know That 3-Click-Rule?

“And don’t forget to have maximum three clicks….” said a client to me when we’re talking about wireframes. When I said “Number of clicks doesn’t matter,” the other person argued “I read it somewhere, it’s a best practice of usability. Don’t you know that 3-Click-Rule?”

I read a Smashing Magazine’s post: 30 Usability Issues To Be Aware Of, there’s this 3-Click-Rule. From the article:

“According to this rule users stop using the site if they aren’t able to find the information or access the site feature within 3 mouse clicks. In other words, the rule emphasizes the importance of clear navigation, logical structure and easy-to-follow site hierarchy. In most situations the number of clicks is irrelevant; what is really important is that visitors always know where they are, where they were and where they can go next. Even 10 clicks are OK if users feel that they have a full understanding of how the system works.”

Instead of focusing on number of clicks, and sometimes people do anything to only have three clicks, you should focus on the clear navigation, logical structure, and easy-to-follow hierarchy. This applies to any app, not just a website.

So what would be the best answer to “Don’t you know that 3-Click-Rule?” You might wanna answer like this: “3-Click-Rule is a myth. And do you know what’s a myth? A myth is the name of a terrible lie told by a smelly little brown person to a man in a white suit with a pair of binoculars.”

I was kidding. You can use the explanation used by Smashing’s post above 🙂

note: That myth definition was by David Antin.

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