The three-click rule suggests if users cannot find what they’re looking for in three clicks, they’re likely to become frustrated and leave the site. But there is some debate to whether or not this is a design myth.

Read on to see our take on the three-click rule and how you can design a website that’s effortless for your customers.

Is the three-click rule myth or reality?

There is some debate to whether or not the three-click rule is a myth or reality. Finding something on a website in three clicks or less is no longer considered an accurate measure of usability, and some even argue that reducing the number of clicks leads to even more usability problems.

Some suggest that the one-click rule is a more accurate rule to follow. But don’t panic, this doesn’t mean that your users must find everything they’re looking for within just one click. Instead, the one-click rule states that each click or interaction with your product should simply take your user closer to their goal.

One key point to note when thinking about usability is eliminating distractions that don’t take the user to their desired destination or goal. In short, keep it simple.

Our take on the three-click rule.

Rather than applying the three-click rule to the entire user journey, it’s better to look at it in terms of the current goal or action of your user. As long as the user reaches their current goal within three clicks or less (for example, proceed to checkout, book an appointment, add to basket), your website is offering a frictionless user experience.

How to get started with the three-click rule:

Prioritise the most important content.

By organising your website content in order of importance, you can begin to simplify your user’s journey. Instead of having 3+ different call to actions on the home page, narrow it down to the most crucial pieces of content.

Take a look at our blog on How To Help Your Customers Buy From Your Business – Fitts’ Law to see some great examples of websites that prioritise content and limit the number of distractions on a page.

Keep it simple.

When creativity kicks in, it can be easy to overcomplicate things. Step back every once and a while and think about how you can simplify the user journey even further.

Are there too many options on the screen for your customer to choose from?

Read about how you can use Hick’s Law to reduce complexity in your website design.

Help Your Customers Make the Right Decision, Quickly – Hick’s Law

Think mobile.

With over half of all web traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, it’s essential that you don’t forget about how your website looks and behaves on a mobile device.

Are you still keeping it simple on mobile? Is the website still responsive?

Here are some resources for you to refer to when designing for mobile:

Key takeaways for the three-click rule:

  • Whilst a strict three-click rule is no longer considered an accurate measurement of useability, keeping user journeys as simple as possible will help more users reach their end goal.
  • Every click or interaction on your website should take the user closer to their end goal.

If you have any questions about website usability, get in touch with a member of our team right now.

T: 01482 755 303 | E: hello@mattixdesign.com

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