Stop Using Number of Clicks to Measure Good UX, Please…
I’ve heard countless comments or suggestions about ‘having less clicks for a better user experience’, or ‘let’s measure the user experience by number of clicks before users can reach the content or do certain tasks’. I first read about this from Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think: “It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice.” To me that makes a lot of sense. I don’t mind with 10 mindless clicks, compared with 3 clicks that require me to think and make a lot of guesses. What I strongly disagree, is to use less clicks as the goal of the design. The goal should be to help the users and the business to achieve their goals. We might be able to come up with less clicks, but that has to be the result of what Maeda put in the first law of his Laws of Simplicity: “The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.”
Someone said ‘if users can’t find what they’re looking for in 3 clicks, they’ll get frustrated, and leave the site..’ I found an interesting article by Joshua Porter: Testing the Three-Click Rule.
They analyzed more than 8,000 clicks from a recent study of 44 users attempting 620 tasks. They counted the clicks of every task, whether the user succeeded or failed at finding their desired content, and the results was “Our analysis showed that there wasn’t any more likelihood of a user quitting after three clicks than after 12 clicks. When we compared the successful tasks to the unsuccessful ones, we found no differences in the distributions of tasks lengths. Hardly anybody gave up after three clicks.”
So the question now is: How do we design a mindless, unambiguous choice along the path to the content? I’ve found an interesting article when I searched for ‘What makes links work?’ See Getting Confidence from Lincoln by Jared M. Spool. I strongly recommend you to read that article.
If you’re a designer, and you’re one of the people who believe in the three-click rule, I hope this post can make you rethink of the real goal of your design: to help the users and the business to achieve their goals.