Should reducing number of clicks be of primary concern?

25 Feb 2007 - 5:29pm
7 years ago
15 replies
1858 reads
oliver green
2006

Hi,

We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing the number
of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an important
guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that the user
will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?

The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any pointers
will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Oliver

Comments

25 Feb 2007 - 6:02pm
Henrik Olsen
2006

Hi Oliver

UIE have made a study that showed that there is no correlation between
the number of times uses click and their reported satisfaction with a
site.

They conclude that "The number of clicks isn't what is important to
users, but whether or not they're successful at finding what they're
seeking."

Here's is my summary of the study:
http://www.guuui.com/posting.php?id=1494

And here is the UIE article:
http://www.uie.com/articles/three_click_rule/

On 2/25/07, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
> learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing the number
> of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an important
> guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that the user
> will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
>
> The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any pointers
> will be appreciated.
>
> Thanks,
> Oliver
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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>

--
Henrik Olsen
www.guuui.com - The interaction designer's coffee break

25 Feb 2007 - 5:07pm
Will Parker
2007

In my experience, the only way to approach 'zero-trial' learning
(you'll never actually reach that goal, BTW) is to find a way to
provide the user with the simplest mental models of the following:

- The functions and capabilities offered by the software
- The set of tasks required to reach a given outcome
- The mapping of UI elements to the starting points of any of the
task workflows

In other words, the user needs to be able to quickly grasp what they
can do, where they are, and how to get to the next step. If your
users _know and understand_ where they are at all times, what they
are doing, and how to do the work being asked of them, you've done
your job.

The main trick is map the workflow to some similar process your
audience have been doing their entire lives - for example, map the
workflow for creating and sending an email to that used for writing
and mailing a physical letter (without, of course, getting overly
literal about it.) It's also important to limit the main UI elements
to those relevant to the task at hand, while still giving the user
the option of canceling the current task or switching to some other
task.

The number of clicks has little to do with the *learnability* of the
application, although you certainly don't want to emulate Microsoft's
thankfully extinct 'Bob' environment, where it took a minimum of 17
clicks to save a file.

- Will
Will Parker
wparker at ChannelingDesign.com

"The only people who value your specialist knowledge are the ones who
already have it." - William Tozier

On Feb 25, 2007, at 2:29 PM, oliver green wrote:

> Hi,
>
> We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
> learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing
> the number
> of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an
> important
> guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that
> the user
> will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
>
> The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any
> pointers
> will be appreciated.
>
> Thanks,
> Oliver
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

25 Feb 2007 - 7:18pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I for 1 stay away from the "Reduce clicks" guideline completely. I
never consider the # of clicks. Why? b/c "click counting" is
meaningless determination of the level of success someone will have
with an application. A user will click a lot if they feel they are
heading in the right direction. YES! they will give up at a certain
pain-point, but that pain-point has less to do with the # of clicks
and more to do with nomenclature and other contextual elements that
help guide the user towards their goal.

If you want to have a 0-learning-curve, then I suggest you actually
ADD more clicks. Yup! create discreet well described processes to take
the user through guided paths that are well layed-out, very legible
and with lots of support.

After doing a ton of usability tests on applications where the role
has to use the system "instantly" w/o outside help, the best success
rates I have had is with guided systems with a lot of careful thought
on presentation visuals and copy. This means doing a lot of research
on business process language, creating the right taxonomy of the
content elements or navigation.

I would look up the articles on "Scent" which I'm sure I'm
bastardizing, by the fine folks at UIE and Jared Spool. (www.uie.com).

One of my Jakob Nielsen pet-peeves is that I am always fighting
against is his treatise on "click-counting" ... It is the bane of my
existence and it really an antiquated remnant of a buy-gone era.

-- dave

On 2/25/07, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
> learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing the number
> of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an important
> guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that the user
> will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
>
> The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any pointers
> will be appreciated.
>
> Thanks,
> Oliver
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

25 Feb 2007 - 7:50pm
AlokJain
2006

Oliver,

If we start counting the # of clicks we make in a day we'll be very
surprised, yet we do not feel the fatigue.

You should look at Information Foraging theory which talks 'scent' of
information.. that is your primary target as opposed to # of clicks.
Within that framework ofcourse you do not want to keep # of clicks to
minimal - ofcourse you don;t want unnecessary clicks.

I think you should keep # of clicks in your radar as this is a public
access terminal where people might not have enough time (?), but don't
make it the primary agenda.

Usability is not absolute, two components of Usability that I find are
almost always at odds are 'Intuitiveness' and 'efficiency'. In you
case goal is Intuitiveness, while # of clicks is for efficiency (that
too can be debated against) :-)

--
Best Regards
Alok Jain
----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.iPrincipia.com
http://www.i-Kreate.org

On 2/25/07, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
> learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing the number
> of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an important
> guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that the user
> will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
>
> The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any pointers
> will be appreciated.
>
> Thanks,
> Oliver
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

25 Feb 2007 - 8:08pm
Gabriel White
2005

Some things to consider:

- Is this an intensively used system where users will become experts?
(clicks matter)
- Is this something that's time critical? (clicks matter)
- Do users have the expectation that they should be able to have a
result immediately? (clicks matter)

If you haven't answered yes to any of the above questions, then I
agree with the above comments; it's all about confidence and success.

g

On 2/25/07, Alok Jain <alok.ajain1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Oliver,
>
> If we start counting the # of clicks we make in a day we'll be very
> surprised, yet we do not feel the fatigue.
>
> You should look at Information Foraging theory which talks 'scent' of
> information.. that is your primary target as opposed to # of clicks.
> Within that framework ofcourse you do not want to keep # of clicks to
> minimal - ofcourse you don;t want unnecessary clicks.
>
> I think you should keep # of clicks in your radar as this is a public
> access terminal where people might not have enough time (?), but don't
> make it the primary agenda.
>
> Usability is not absolute, two components of Usability that I find are
> almost always at odds are 'Intuitiveness' and 'efficiency'. In you
> case goal is Intuitiveness, while # of clicks is for efficiency (that
> too can be debated against) :-)
>
> --
> Best Regards
> Alok Jain
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.iPrincipia.com
> http://www.i-Kreate.org
>
>
>
> On 2/25/07, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
> > learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing the number
> > of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an important
> > guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that the user
> > will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
> >
> > The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any pointers
> > will be appreciated.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Oliver
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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>

25 Feb 2007 - 8:38pm
Nasir Barday
2006

Oliver wrote:

> Some folks on our team insist that reducing the number
> of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an important
> guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that the
> user
> will get lost while using the interface.

Boy, if I had a dime for every time I've had to dispell this myth ...

This thread sums up the design thinking on "number of clicks"-itis very
well. As for convincing your team of the gospel, I usually start by
acknowledging that they have their hearts in the right place in wanting to
reduce clicks. The number of clicks for a task is merely a symptom of the
interface's design, not a real design goal.

Then I flash this picture:
http://www.franklins.net/badui2.jpg
"This is a 2-click interface, too ..."

After that, I go into the ideas people have brought up in this thread:
"Do you want less clicks? Or should users feel like they're getting closer
as they explore?"
"Fewer clicks? Or deliver enough satisfaction at each step, so users stick
around until they complete the tasks?"
etc., etc ...

That's my approach at the meeting table, anyway. Add salt to taste ...

- Nasir

25 Feb 2007 - 8:40pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Gabriel,

I don't get "clicks matter" from any of the questions that you ask.
Clicks != novice vs. expert
Clicks != time (bandwidth, CPU & Network have a heck of a lot more to
do with time than clicks)
Clicks !=results "Immediately"

Ok, there is an issue here. "What is a click?"

In a Web-centric world a "click" is when you make a call to the server
and have to wait for a response. But how many clicks did you have to
go through on the page in order to get that response. I mean how many
clicks are in a long form? I mean do we count a dropdown form as a
certain number of clicks?

And boy! if we want to get into HCI, it isn't even about clicks,
right? Its about transfering between the mouse and the keyboard that
takes away more energy than a click on any part of the screen and then
its about the efficiency of the click ... distance between targets,
proximity to corners, size of target, etc.

A "click" is a pretty meaningless construct by itself w/o
contextualize the entire application, and in this case not just the
context of the user, but the context of the User Interface elements
themselves.

-- dave

On 2/25/07, Gabriel White <gabrielwhite at gmail.com> wrote:
> Some things to consider:
>
> - Is this an intensively used system where users will become experts?
> (clicks matter)
> - Is this something that's time critical? (clicks matter)
> - Do users have the expectation that they should be able to have a
> result immediately? (clicks matter)
>
> If you haven't answered yes to any of the above questions, then I
> agree with the above comments; it's all about confidence and success.
>
> g
>
> On 2/25/07, Alok Jain <alok.ajain1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Oliver,
> >
> > If we start counting the # of clicks we make in a day we'll be very
> > surprised, yet we do not feel the fatigue.
> >
> > You should look at Information Foraging theory which talks 'scent' of
> > information.. that is your primary target as opposed to # of clicks.
> > Within that framework ofcourse you do not want to keep # of clicks to
> > minimal - ofcourse you don;t want unnecessary clicks.
> >
> > I think you should keep # of clicks in your radar as this is a public
> > access terminal where people might not have enough time (?), but don't
> > make it the primary agenda.
> >
> > Usability is not absolute, two components of Usability that I find are
> > almost always at odds are 'Intuitiveness' and 'efficiency'. In you
> > case goal is Intuitiveness, while # of clicks is for efficiency (that
> > too can be debated against) :-)
> >
> > --
> > Best Regards
> > Alok Jain
> > ----------------------------------------------------------
> > http://www.iPrincipia.com
> > http://www.i-Kreate.org
> >
> >
> >
> > On 2/25/07, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
> > > learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing the number
> > > of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an important
> > > guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact that the user
> > > will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
> > >
> > > The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any pointers
> > > will be appreciated.
> > >
> > > Thanks,
> > > Oliver
> > > ________________________________________________________________
> > > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> > >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

25 Feb 2007 - 9:53pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Philip,

Anyone who asks to "reduce clicks" usually is asking for something
else but doesn't know how to articulate it.

other words/phrases I tend to ignore are, "make it easy" and "make it
intuitive".

These are not useful descritions of solutions, but rather descritions
of the feelings that users have using it. It is important to listen to
these statements, but they are not directions.

# of clicks, is very similar. It usually seaks to the problem of "I am
overwhelmed and tired trying to comlete my task."

I also think as I said that unless we define "clicks" more
specifically in a world of RIAs, counting clicks, even server calls
really has no meaning.

Think of clicks as any other part of Fitts law, but I wouldn't only
look at "clicks". Look deeper at the real user problems.

Dave

- Dave

On 2/25/07, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
> It's about creating clarity and balance. Neither a limit of 3 clicks
> or an endless stream of clicks is the correct model. And I don't
> think David is advocating an endless number of clicks.
>
> Bite-sized chunks is a good model. And the number of clicks is
> conditional. While it should be a concern, it's not always the only
> predictor of satisfaction, effectiveness, and efficiency.
>
> When we measure success in testing, we use a combination factor that
> includes satisfaction, time, and effort. So, while clicks is one
> piece, it's not the final say.
>
> On Feb 25, 2007, at 7:32 PM, Phillip Hunter wrote:
>
> > Isn't that a bit too much of a generalization? I am helping re-
> > design a desktop application that I will also be a user of and
> > reducing clicks to complete certain tasks is one of my top
> > requests. Of course, I will grant that my real goal is to see
> > something in particulate more quickly, but the primary obstacle is
> > the 4 - 5 clicks it takes to see something I have to look at in
> > hundreds of places in the app.
> >
> > Phillip
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (215) 825-7423
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

26 Feb 2007 - 12:13am
Gabriel White
2005

Dave,

>From my experience, "click" is generally used to describe an action
used to complete a significant step in a task (thus discussions are
often around what constitutes a step, and smart design has a big role
to play in this). My experience has been that it's not down to the
level of form-filling and not necessarily up to the level of "next
screen". Discrete-contained-task-chunks, maybe; the granularity is
evaluated in the context of the task and design.

"Clicks" discussions often come from stakeholders outside the design
team (so it's often hard to change the language people use to describe
the phenomenon). The terminology and semantics might need clearing up,
but I haven't had a discussion with anyone about this issue where
there has been a basic misunderstanding beyond what I described above.

I wasn't intending to say that clicks matter *absolutely* in the
situations I described (so I agree with your "!=" statements), rather
just that they do warrant consideration in those contexts (along with
all the other design considerations).

I agree that the mess of these discussions often stems from a focus of
a particular element of the design rather than a holistic evaluation
of the user experience.

So the onus on the designer is to show that the particular
consideration about clicks has been addressed appropriately as one of
the things (among many) that helps the design be a great solution to
the particular problem that's being solved.

Gabe

On 2/25/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> Gabriel,
>
> I don't get "clicks matter" from any of the questions that you ask.
> Clicks != novice vs. expert
> Clicks != time (bandwidth, CPU & Network have a heck of a lot more to
> do with time than clicks)
> Clicks !=results "Immediately"
>
> Ok, there is an issue here. "What is a click?"
>
> In a Web-centric world a "click" is when you make a call to the server
> and have to wait for a response. But how many clicks did you have to
> go through on the page in order to get that response. I mean how many
> clicks are in a long form? I mean do we count a dropdown form as a
> certain number of clicks?
>
> And boy! if we want to get into HCI, it isn't even about clicks,
> right? Its about transfering between the mouse and the keyboard that
> takes away more energy than a click on any part of the screen and then
> its about the efficiency of the click ... distance between targets,
> proximity to corners, size of target, etc.
>
> A "click" is a pretty meaningless construct by itself w/o
> contextualize the entire application, and in this case not just the
> context of the user, but the context of the User Interface elements
> themselves.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> On 2/25/07, Gabriel White <gabrielwhite at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Some things to consider:
> >
> > - Is this an intensively used system where users will become experts?
> > (clicks matter)
> > - Is this something that's time critical? (clicks matter)
> > - Do users have the expectation that they should be able to have a
> > result immediately? (clicks matter)
> >
> > If you haven't answered yes to any of the above questions, then I
> > agree with the above comments; it's all about confidence and success.
> >

26 Feb 2007 - 4:12am
Joshua Porter
2007

The reason why there was no correlation in our study ( http://
www.uie.com/articles/three_click_rule/ ) is because there are simply
too many variables that affect the user experience.

Number of clicks is in a class of other red herrings:

Number of clicks
Download time
% Whitespace
Scrolling
Content Density

All things being equal, of course fewer/faster/no scrolling/denser is
better. But all things are *never* equal.

For example...if fewer clicks were *always* better then Amazon's one-
click would be used by everyone. Why is it not? Well, there is a
certain percentage of the population who doesn't like to purchase
without reviewing their order first. So, in theory the one-click
would be optimal, but all other things aren't equal. In this case the
other thing that isn't equal is the mood of the purchaser...some
people want the control of reviewing their order before they place
it. The problem is, you might not see this crop up until you take
away the review step by making your system one-click...maybe in
response to everyone claiming they want a faster checkout...right up
until the point where you actually give it to them. :)

Cheers,

Josh

On Feb 25, 2007, at 3:02 PM, Henrik Olsen wrote:

> Hi Oliver
>
> UIE have made a study that showed that there is no correlation between
> the number of times uses click and their reported satisfaction with a
> site.
>
> They conclude that "The number of clicks isn't what is important to
> users, but whether or not they're successful at finding what they're
> seeking."
>
> Here's is my summary of the study:
> http://www.guuui.com/posting.php?id=1494
>
> And here is the UIE article:
> http://www.uie.com/articles/three_click_rule/
>
>
> On 2/25/07, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>>
>> We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
>> learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing
>> the number
>> of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an
>> important
>> guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact
>> that the user
>> will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
>>
>> The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any
>> pointers
>> will be appreciated.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Oliver
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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>
>
> --
> Henrik Olsen
> www.guuui.com - The interaction designer's coffee break
> ________________________________________________________________
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Joshua Porter
jporter at uie.com
Director of Web Development
User Interface Engineering
http://www.uie.com

Personal blog:
http://bokardo.com

26 Feb 2007 - 9:31am
DrWex
2006

I thnk there have been several very good points raised here. I wanted
to say that "number of clicks" is not just a Web thing - I get
pressure in the desktop environment application I'm working on to
reduce clicks.

In my experience there are two issues here, one of which we've
discussed and one not:
1. sense of progress. People keep moving while they feel they're
accomplishing things. OK good, scent and all that.

But also:
2. speed of performing repeated actions. People who have to do the
same thing many times through the same interface resent multi-step
processes that are perceived as "long" or "too many clicks."

It's not clear to me that solutions to the first issue are relevant or
helpful with the second situation. Does anyone have any pointers or
experience with this to share?

--Alan

26 Feb 2007 - 1:34pm
Jeff Axup
2006

Coming into the thread a bit late, a few points:

- "user satisfaction" isn't the only goal of good design, and it is highly
fickle and difficult to quantify. Number of clicks is only one way track
efficiency, but it is a useful rule of thumb. Users may say they like the 10
click interface, but they may not be performing their jobs as well if they
get it. Large number of clicks are indicative of interfaces that have IAs
with too many levels.

- novice interfaces typically require more clicks, because users want more
supplementary information and are often happy to sacrifice time for accurate
task completion. Thus whether clicks is an important variable to keep an eye
on in your design depends a lot on who your users are and what the task
requirements are.

-Jeff

On 2/26/07, Joshua Porter <porter at bokardo.com> wrote:
>
> The reason why there was no correlation in our study ( http://
> www.uie.com/articles/three_click_rule/ ) is because there are simply
> too many variables that affect the user experience.
>
> Number of clicks is in a class of other red herrings:
>
> Number of clicks
> Download time
> % Whitespace
> Scrolling
> Content Density
>
> All things being equal, of course fewer/faster/no scrolling/denser is
> better. But all things are *never* equal.
>
> For example...if fewer clicks were *always* better then Amazon's one-
> click would be used by everyone. Why is it not? Well, there is a
> certain percentage of the population who doesn't like to purchase
> without reviewing their order first. So, in theory the one-click
> would be optimal, but all other things aren't equal. In this case the
> other thing that isn't equal is the mood of the purchaser...some
> people want the control of reviewing their order before they place
> it. The problem is, you might not see this crop up until you take
> away the review step by making your system one-click...maybe in
> response to everyone claiming they want a faster checkout...right up
> until the point where you actually give it to them. :)
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Josh
>
>
> On Feb 25, 2007, at 3:02 PM, Henrik Olsen wrote:
>
> > Hi Oliver
> >
> > UIE have made a study that showed that there is no correlation between
> > the number of times uses click and their reported satisfaction with a
> > site.
> >
> > They conclude that "The number of clicks isn't what is important to
> > users, but whether or not they're successful at finding what they're
> > seeking."
> >
> > Here's is my summary of the study:
> > http://www.guuui.com/posting.php?id=1494
> >
> > And here is the UIE article:
> > http://www.uie.com/articles/three_click_rule/
> >
> >
> > On 2/25/07, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> We are redesigning an interface with a goal to make it a "zero-trial"
> >> learning experience. Some folks on our team insist that reducing
> >> the number
> >> of clicks must be of utmost importance. I agree that it is an
> >> important
> >> guideline, but not at a cost of confusing the user or the fact
> >> that the user
> >> will get lost while using the interface. Any thoughts on this issue?
> >>
> >> The software being designed is for a public access terminal. Any
> >> pointers
> >> will be appreciated.
> >>
> >> Thanks,
> >> Oliver
> >> ________________________________________________________________
> >> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> >> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> >> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> >> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > Henrik Olsen
> > www.guuui.com - The interaction designer's coffee break
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>
>
> Joshua Porter
> jporter at uie.com
> Director of Web Development
> User Interface Engineering
> http://www.uie.com
>
> Personal blog:
> http://bokardo.com
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
Best Regards,
Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________
Jeff Axup Ph.D. Candidate - University of Queensland, Brisbane,
Australia
Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting

Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group Usability
E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
Academic: http://www.infenv.itee.uq.edu.au
____________________________________________________________________________

26 Feb 2007 - 6:16pm
Leah Brady
2007

Also coming late and chiming in with Jeff, maybe the solution to the
problem should start by asking the question "is the target user performing
a task they do repeatedly on a daily basis or is it something they will do
on a rare occasion maybe once a week". I suppose that is the novice
versus expert case but also involves differences in scenarios for
application software versus web or kiosk service oriented software
(forgive me if I don't have all the terminology down, I am from the
Industrial Design world and am new to this field). I assume for a public
access terminal the scenario of use involves a search for information and
may therefore involve novice users. If this is the case, than I agree
with many who spoke before that the number of clicks is not a concern as
long as the path to get to the information they want is easy to find. If
on the other, you are designing functionality for a desktop application
that will be a primary function for performing work, the navigation to
that piece of functionality (i.e. a toolbar icon vs an editing window vs
going through a menu bar) I would think, should be as efficient as
possible ? in other words the importance to the number of clicks is
relative to the scenario of use and the user targeted to that scenario.

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26 Feb 2007 - 6:53pm
vutpakdi
2003

I think that it completely and entirely depends on the situation.
Sometimes, you can reduce the number of clicks required, but then you
have a cluttered and confusing interface. In other times, the addition
of an extra click can be disastrous.

How can one extra click be a really bad idea? Five or six years ago, a
developer added an extra click a few years back to one of our products.
I forget if the number of clicks went from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3. Doesn't
sound bad, right? Well, that extra click came in an activity that the
users do almost continually all day every day: they're clicking on a
squigly line in a seismic image in order to mark faults and horizons.
Users at a major account were so insensed at the increased ergonomic
load that the matter went up the chain of command all the way to highest
levels of management.

On the other hand, I've also seen the red herring of "reduce the number
of clicks" without considering "why?" and "does it make sense?". So, it
depends.

Ron

27 Feb 2007 - 2:32am
cfmdesigns
2004

On Feb 26, 2007, at 3:16 PM, Leah.Towne at zootweb.com wrote:

> Also coming late and chiming in with Jeff, maybe the solution to the
> problem should start by asking the question "is the target user
> performing
> a task they do repeatedly on a daily basis or is it something they
> will do
> on a rare occasion maybe once a week".

I'm pretty sure he said that this was for a public access terminal.
It's probably a good bet that the usage of this is a on-shot deal for
a couple minutes, not an intense, daily activity.

But there *is* a question to be asked with this: "Okay, we want to
reduce clicks. What problem is that intended to solve?" We've
probably all seen cases where the "problem" is stated in terms of a
solution, and this would seem to be one. As identified in this
thread, number of clicks may be important in a repeated activity, but
it may be unimportant/less important in a unique activity where the
user continually narrows down his search.

Analyze first, design later. Deliver no solution that is not needed.

-- Jim

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