Does your website have clickability?
I was recently requested to create a blogsite with ‘clickability’. Even if it isn’t a real word (I’m sure I read it somewhere) I immediately knew what this meant.
I learned about clickability from a fantastic book called ‘Don’t make me think’ by Steve Krug, which had me transfixed from cover to cover. It’s all about using psychology to get the website visitor to perform the required action, and it is how the visitor reacts that contributes towards successful optimisation and function of the webpage.
I use a website that offers excellent WordPress themes (templates) with left hand sidebars. This is important as we, in the Western world, naturally read from left to right, so the most important elements of your website should be placed on the left: sign up forms, subscription requests, notices that require attention – in fact any kind of call to action, even if it is a link to your latest post or new page. Interestingly I’ve just spent the weekend investigating a theme with two left sidebars, but have decided against installing it permanently as I prefer this theme!
The next clickability element is the button that requires clicking. A flat image, even if it says ‘click here’, will not be as enticing as a raised or three-dimensional graphic. The button has to look like it will click when you press it with your mouse, even if it doesn’t make a noise, and clever web-designers can programme their buttons so that they transform to a ‘clicked’ image once the visitor has done the deed.
But even flat images can trigger clickability. There are lots of pre-designed icon websites you can use to create your buttons, and I searched through them to find images that matched my blogsite owner’s requirements, as we have become preconditioned to click on such images, these simplified and sparsely drawn graphics that convey meaning without words, almost universally uniform throughout the internet.
Even so, I am reminded of a website whose graphics did not bring any results. Nine beautifully positioned images of ‘products of the month’ showed hardly any interest from visitors when scrutinised through Google Analytics. So where did they click? Well, the poor things had a hard time searching for something that seemed clickable, as the main links were hidden inside the banner, and the sidebar’s links were thinly disguised as ordinary text. Only 50% of visitors gained access to the remainder of the site because the sidebar links matched their search requirements, and even though the site’s creator expected his ‘product images’ to be examined, there was no real reason or enticement to encourage such investigations.
Sometimes it is important to state the obvious if you want a reaction. One site I reviewed contained a lot of information ‘below the fold’, that is the area of the webpage that can only be accessed by scrolling down. As most of this material was necessary, I wondered how many visitors bothered to search to the bottom (remember, visitors usually use an average of 3 seconds to make up their minds about your website when they first visit), resulting in a lost opportunity. All that was needed was some buttons that highlighted the content that wasn’t visible, with anchor links to automatically jump to the corresponding area. If they had been clickable enough, the full purpose of the webpage would have been delivered.