The Three-Click Rule is a long-standing web design concept that suggests viewers should be able to find what they’re looking for in approximately three mouse clicks. However, because of new trends and advancement of mobile devices, many argue that the Three-Click Rule is somewhat of an outdated concept. And although that might be true in some cases, we think the Three-Click Rule is still relevant, and here’s why:
Attention Span of Viewers
The attention span of viewers is shorter than ever because of the readiness and accessibility of information on the web. This is partially due to impatience as well because viewers expect everything to be so readily available; they want the information and they want it 5 minutes ago. If they can’t find answers quickly it’s back to Google and on to the next link. This is precisely why the Three-Click rule is still relevant, and even if some designers think it’s a dying rule and web design styles are changing, it’s key to have the most important information as accessible as possible or you might get passed over.
Here at IdeaZone, we run on a simple philosophy where we want to make it as easy as possible for viewers to find what they’re looking for. That means applying the Three-Click Rule to our concepts when we design a website.
Today’s internet is outrageously full of content – some more relevant than others – making it that much more important for viewers find the most relevant information within three clicks.
According to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, in 2015, 55% of B2B Marketers said they were planning to create more content than they did the year before. Now that it’s 2017, more people have caught on to that trend and that percentage is much higher. Which (you guessed it) means there is that much more content available at your fingertips on company’s website, on a blog, in articles, or on social media, and it’s all being shared simultaneously.
Content overload also means there’s a snowball effect; with more content comes more responsibility to stand out in the clutter.
Here’s an example, say you’re looking for a good marketing blog. You type ‘marketing blogs’ into Google and hit ‘search’. Google is going to come back with millions of results in half a second. Obviously, if you’re a marketing person doing that search you’re going to focus on the first and maybe the second page, and you are going to click on websites you’ve heard of before. Also, presumably, the writers of these blogs are also going to be fairly knowledgeable in the SEO department, and as a marketing person, you understand the value in that. However, that’s not always the case, the blog you find might be reputable but irrelevant to your interests, so you have millions of results at your fingertips and because you don’t want to flip through the endless number of pages you may only find one blog that’s relevant out of the 20-25 results shown on the first two pages.
Which brings us right back to reiterating the value of the Three-Click Rule.
Because of all the clutter, you want to make it quick, easy, and highly relevant for viewers looking for your information, products or services. Otherwise, your blog or your website is going to end up being one of the millions of results Google churns up in a blink of an eye; bringing us to our next point…
It Keeps Things Simple
You’ve heard of the phrase “keep it simple, stupid” right? Well, we like to use that phrase to remind ourselves to stick to rules like the Three-Click Rule when designing websites. And the Three-Click Rule does just that, it keeps things simple. It keeps information laid out in an easy-to-find fashion, and it allows our web designers the opportunity to make sure a website stays consistent. It also makes sure viewers don’t get overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles of a complex ‘look at us! We have all the cool add-ons, horizontal scrolls, random buttons and apps nobody knows how to use’ web design.
It’s important to know that simplicity doesn’t have to take away from the visual appeal of a website. We’re great at making a website look badass without needing the all the flashiness and explosions of a Michael Bay action movie.
Finally, the Three-Click Rule makes the planning stage of the web design process much easier. Things like sitemaps can be organized and laid out at a more efficient rate, and it allows for shorter URLs because there aren’t an endless number of pages.
Overall, the Three-Click Rule isn’t a restricting, end-all-be-all rule for web design. It should, instead, be used loosely to make the design process more straight forward from start to finish which will allow a viewer to navigate a website and find what they’re looking for in a more efficient manner.