Link Text Part 1: How “Learn More” Can Lead to Clicking Less
You don’t have to spend much time looking around online before you’ll find a heading and short paragraph of text followed by a link labeled “Learn More.”
This trend has been growing as mobile-optimized sites have been forced to get better at limiting content to the most essential messages for ease of scanning. Unfortunately, these simple, generic “Learn More” links that send users elsewhere for secondary information can cause big headaches for users.
Read on to learn why and to find out how you can prevent serious frustration for your site’s users.
Problem #1: Lack of context
As web users, we all want the most amount of relevant information in the fewest clicks as possible, which is why we feel frustrated when a site doesn’t give us what we want or expect.
We’re not talking temper-tantrum-frustrated, we’re talking minutely, perhaps even subconsciously, frustrated. This type of low level, outside-our-awareness frustration impacts how we feel about companies, assumptions we make about them, and how likely we are to do business with them.
Like the “Click Here” label of the past, the non-descript “Learn More” text in links actually hides what is being clicked.
“Learn More” link text forces users to read the surrounding text to understand the link reference and what they might learn more about if they click. This slows them down, significantly (potentially enough to the point they won’t click at all, especially if there are multiple “Learn More” links in a small area).
Successful link text should be valuable and informative. Not generic.
“Learn More” is generic text that prevents sites’ visitors from quickly find what they’re looking for. It usually requires users to stall ask themselves “Learn more about, what, exactly?”
Problem #2: Creating uncertainty
Oftentimes, even after a user takes the time to read an introductory paragraph to understand a “Learn More” link’s context, there remains a level of uncertainty about what will actually be found at the destination.
Am I being sent to another page where I can choose from more options? An external site? A page with an explainer video I can watch? Testimonials? A shopping page?
This uncertainty can create enough hesitation that users don’t want to deal with visiting a page and potentially have to click back to the original page if it isn’t what they expected.
Additionally, if there are multiple “Learn More” links on one page leading to separate detail pages, users may struggle to remember which link takes them to the particular content they want to reference next time. Language that more clearly describes the content being linked to helps users distinguish between links faster and easier. It provides an easier, more intuitive, more satisfactory user experience. It prevents frustration.
Problem #3: Stumps accessibility tools
People using accessibility tools such as screen readers often hear a list of links on the page in alphabetical order without the associated text, meaning they have no way to decipher which text a non-descript “Learn More” link references. They have no way to quickly scan the surrounding text to gain this necessary context. They simply hear “Learn More” without context.
Clear link text with action-oriented language help with this accessibility issue and at the same time address the larger issue of good communication and usability for all.
“Learn More” links often create more problems than they solve. Prevent confusion by eliminating the text Learn more when it makes sense.
But what should your links say, if not “Learn More”? Join us next time to find out.