Myth #2 – All pages should be reachable in 3 clicks

It’s funny – whenever we build an app or a website, we always think that users will only stay on a website if they can find certain items within a certain amount of clicks (in this case, three or less).

Even though frustrating your users with a website layout that is hard to navigate can definitely impact how long a person stays on your website, there really isn’t a “minimal” amount of time a user needs to find their content before they leave!

In essence, fewer clicks generally do not make users happier, and aren’t necessarily perceived as faster either!

There a few studies that challenge the three click rule:

  • Usability tests actually proved that people do not quite after clicking three times, plus they don’t feel agitated if they have to keep on clicking more
  • An infamous user ability test laid out by Jakob Nielsen found that “user’s ability to find products on an e-commerce site increased by 600 percent after the design was changed so that products were 4 clicks from the homepage instead of 3.”. That’s a huge leap!
  • Furthermore, usability tests project that it’s actually not the number of clicks that the user derives their behaviour from, but actually how well-labelled the links were that portray this information.
  • Some practical advice – you need to try and replace the three click rule, with the one click rule. Every single click or interaction should take the person closer to where they want to be, eliminating the need to extra fluff content. This will make the user much happier!

In conclusion – it is completely correct in saying that we need to allow users to get to the content they want to find as fast as possible. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to happen in exactly three clicks!

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