The three-click rule or three click rule is an unofficial web design rule concerning the design of website navigation. It suggests that a user of a website should be able to find any information with no more than three mouse clicks. It is based on the belief that users of a site will become frustrated and often leave if they cannot find the information within the three clicks.
Although there is little analytical evidence that this is the case, it is a commonly held belief amongst designers that the rule is part of a good system of navigation. Critics of the rule suggest that the number of clicks is not as important as the success of the clicks or information sent.
Jeffrey Zeldman wrote, in Taking Your Talent to the Web (2001), that the Three-Click Rule is "based on the way people use the Web" and "the rule can help you create sites with intuitive, logical hierarchical structures".
The three click rule has been challenged by usability test results, which have shown that the number of clicks needed to access the desired information affects neither user satisfaction, nor success rate.
In eCommerce websites, the rule can often be detrimental as in order to adhere to the rule, products on offer to customers must be grouped into categories that are far too large to be easily browsed.
Usability testing is a technique used in user-centered interaction design to evaluate a product by testing it on users. This can be seen as an irreplaceable usability practice, since it gives direct input on how real users use the system. It is more concerned with the design intuitiveness of the product and tested with users who have no prior exposure to it. Such testing is paramount to the success of an end product as a fully functioning app that creates confusion amongst its users will not last for long. This is in contrast with usability inspection methods where experts use different methods to evaluate a user interface without involving users.
Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all. The term "web design" is normally used to describe the design process relating to the front-end design of a website including writing markup. Web design partially overlaps web engineering in the broader scope of web development. Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their role involves creating markup then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines.
Usability can be described as the capacity of a system to provide a condition for its users to perform the tasks safely, effectively, and efficiently while enjoying the experience. In software engineering, usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use.
Jeffrey Zeldman is an entrepreneur, web designer, author, podcaster and speaker on web design. He is the co-founder of A List Apart Magazine and the Web Standards Project. He also founded the design studios Happy Cog and studio.zeldman, and co-founded the A Book Apart imprint and the design conference An Event Apart.
Web standards are the formal, non-proprietary standards and other technical specifications that define and describe aspects of the World Wide Web. In recent years, the term has been more frequently associated with the trend of endorsing a set of standardized best practices for building web sites, and a philosophy of web design and development that includes those methods.
Findability is the ease with which information contained on a website can be found, both from outside the website and by users already on the website. Although findability has relevance outside the World Wide Web, the term is usually used in that context. Most relevant websites do not come up in the top results because designers and engineers do not cater to the way ranking algorithms work currently. Its importance can be determined from the first law of e-commerce, which states "If the user can’t find the product, the user can’t buy the product." As of December 2014, out of 10.3 billion monthly Google searches by Internet users in the United States, an estimated 78% are made to research products and services online.
Banner blindness is a phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or unconsciously ignore banner-like information, which can also be called ad blindness or banner noise.
In the context of a web browser, a frame is a part of a web page or browser window which displays content independent of its container, with the ability to load content independently. The HTML or media elements shown in a frame may come from a different web site as the other elements of content on display, although this practice, known as framing, is today often regarded as a violation of same-origin policy and has been considered a form of copyright infringement.
Web usability of a website are broad goals of usability and presentation of information and choices in a clear and concise way, a lack of ambiguity and the placement of important items in appropriate areas as well as ensuring that the content works on various devices and browsers. The end-goal a website creator wants to achieve is to provide the users of the website a better experience.
A website wireframe, also known as a page schematic or screen blueprint, is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website. Wireframes are created for the purpose of arranging elements to best accomplish a particular purpose. The purpose is usually being informed by a business objective and a creative idea. The wireframe depicts the page layout or arrangement of the website's content, including interface elements and navigational systems, and how they work together. The wireframe usually lacks typographic style, color, or graphics, since the main focus lies in functionality, behavior, and priority of content. In other words, it focuses on what a screen does, not what it looks like. Wireframes can be pencil drawings or sketches on a whiteboard, or they can be produced by means of a broad array of free or commercial software applications. Wireframes are generally created by business analysts, user experience designers, developers, visual designers, and by those with expertise in interaction design, information architecture and user research.
Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. It is commonly used to measure the success of an online advertising campaign for a particular website as well as the effectiveness of email campaigns.
Personal web pages are world wide web pages created by an individual to contain content of a personal nature rather than content pertaining to a company, organization or institution. Personal web pages are primarily used for informative or entertainment purposes but can also be used for personal career marketing, social networking with other people with shared interests, or as a space for personal expression.
Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. However, Web analytics is not just a process for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a website. Web analytics applications can also help companies measure the results of traditional print or broadcast advertising campaigns. It helps one to estimate how traffic to a website changes after the launch of a new advertising campaign. Web analytics provides information about the number of visitors to a website and the number of page views. It helps gauge traffic and popularity trends which is useful for market research.
Tableless web design is a web design method that avoids the use of HTML tables, for page layout control purposes. Instead of HTML tables, style sheet languages such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to arrange elements and text on a web page.
In online marketing, a landing page, sometimes known as a "lead capture page", "static page", or a "destination page", is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result, marketing promotion, marketing email, or an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link. Landing pages are used for lead generation. The actions that a visitor takes on a landing page is what determines an advertiser's conversion rate. A landing page may be part of a microsite or a single page within an organization's main web site.
A breadcrumb or breadcrumb trail is a graphical control element frequently used as a navigational aid in user interfaces and on web pages. It allows users to keep track and maintain awareness of their locations within programs, documents, or websites.
Web tracking is the practice by which operators of websites collect, store and share information about a particular user's activity on the World Wide Web. Analysis of an individual user's behavior may be used to provide content that relates to their implied preferences and may be of interest to various parties.
Web navigation refers to the process of navigating a network of information resources in the World Wide Web, which is organized as hypertext or hypermedia. The user interface that is used to do so is called a web browser.
Call to action (CTA) is a marketing term for any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale. A CTA most often refers to the use of words or phrases that can be incorporated into sales scripts, advertising messages or web pages that encourage consumers to take prompt action.