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What is the 3 click rule and is it still relevant?

You’ve probably clicked on this article and thought, “What even is the Three Click Rule?” Well, we’ll get to that, but one of our big focuses while designing a site is how are we making this seamless for the end user. Usability is much more than adding buttons, it’s often described as an experience, meaning the whole timeline from entering the site to leaving. Let’s get into the three click rule as it applies to usability.

What is the Three Click Rule?

The three click rule is an unofficial user experience rule that states that a user should be able to get to any piece of content on a website within three clicks. Of course this number should stay to one or two clicks on smaller websites. The three click rule can also extend past websites to other online modalities.

Why is it important?

The three click rule exists to make using a website as uncomplicated as possible. We don’t want to create a wild goose chase just to find a piece of content. We use the three click rule as a guideline when organizing content on a website so that no piece of content goes unnoticed. This is especially important when creating large scale websites with archives of articles or documents.

Is it still relevant?

A lot of usability experts on the internet speculate about the three click rule and if it’s still a helpful marker of usability on a website. We believe that the three click rule is only relevant if it is supported by clear and consistent language and navigation. For example, we could technically have three clicks leading through to different pages but if they’re in obscure locations or not labeled clearly, it won’t help very much.

At Web Strategies, we keep the three click rule in mind and always aim for seamless and easy to navigate websites, but don’t hold it as a standard. Like anything, it’s just a tool that helps us while building to ultimately help the end user. They are always who we are ultimately designing the site for. If your website is frustrating for your users don’t worry, we can help! All of our website redesigns include a developer’s assessment of how to organize content so that your users can get to it with as few clicks, and frustrations, as possible.

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