Fascinatingly, we behave in such a way that they can ‘conserve energy.’ We drive instead of walk. We copy instead of create. We browse rather than read. Edward de Bono maintains that we’ve evolved into becoming “brilliantly uncreative.” Humans make thousands of subtle to complex decisions every day. Through these decisions, we create mental models and patterns especially those that require the least resistance.
Put simply, an individual browsing a web page is more likely to click on the most visible link since it requires the least resistance. There’s no need to look for other links to click when we see the first clickable link. Come to think of it, why would you look for others when it is already in front of you?
If you are given a random series of numbers, which ones would you think you’d remember most? You’re right. You will remember most of those are shown to you first. Our minds favor the first few in a sequence known as the Primacy Effect. On the other hand, our minds also remember those that are shown to us lastly, which is known as the Recency Effect.
Therefore, users tend to choose to click those links that are closest to them. Apart from the Primacy Effect, the phenomenon is also referred to as the Position Effect. The worst performing areas to put a link are the middle parts. The links at the bottom perform better than the links in the middle portion. Nonetheless, lower right and upper left areas can capture the most number of clicks on links.
1) Scan-friendliness. Nowadays, users are mostly scanning contents.
2) Simplicity. The simple the web design, the better. Based on a YouTube experiment conducted in 2012 by Javier Bargas Avila, despite the familiarity of the design, users perceive a website as less attractive if its visual complexity is high.
3) Typography. Active engagement with the contents is affected by typography. Well-structured and well-designed sites have more engrossed readers. These readers also tend to notice the link more.
Before making any decision, we are subjected to several choices. Some of us even decide not to choose because choosing means abandoning other significant choices. Choices strip off the users the freedom of choice that they know they should be enjoying other than choosing between to click and not to click.
Many choices can only result to many questions that can only make the decision-making confusing. People will shortlist mentally based on preconceived criteria or requirement since we are naturally born to seek. Our decision whether to click which link will be based on whether the choice met all our preconceived criteria. If it is, it will make us happy. If not, we will search for other choices until we are happy with our choice or decision.
Behind every click is a being (usually an emotional being). Clicks are extensions of our interests. Such interest may not be always fulfilled. So, clicking may be regarded as the first step toward the fulfillment of certain interest.
To continue with our choices, we seek information especially those that can make us happy. Headlines, anchor texts and even links themselves must be crafted in such a way that it would trigger the users to relate the information that they are currently seeking. However, there should be enough information that can pique the curiosity of the users and not kill it.
Remember we love to conserve energy. Hovering and clicking on the anchor text that indicates ambiguity to where it leads to requires energy. ‘Click Here’ focuses on mouse mechanics and not necessarily on the importance of the contents of the landing pages.
Understanding how we perceive and interact with links is critical nowadays especially for the digital marketers. In structuring links, the goal is to evoke vividness and urgency (immediate action)n without becoming too intrusive. More than understanding the human mind, we need to understand who are behind those clicks in the same ways that users are contemplating who are behind those links.
While we are information seekers, we also want to conserve more energies when possible. Make it easier for your users to find your links by following the simple guidelines noted above. Less energy means more click for your links!