The never-dying “number of clicks” argument

Every so often, I still hear the “above the fold” line – that tired, ancient lament by people who forget about conventions like scrolling. I must not be alone because the blog post (There is No Fold!) I made about it a couple years ago is among the most trafficked pages on this site.

Well, another one that we UXers still have to contend with is the notion that all actions should be achievable in X number of clicks or less, be it one or the storied “3 click rule.”

Though there are compelling cases out there that have long ago disproved this, I think it’s something that’ll never die. Why? Well, it sounds good and noble.

The problem is it’s focusing on the wrong thing, and putting a rigid constraint where it’s not necessary.

What you need to do is make content easy to find and workflows optimized, simple and clear. It doesn’t matter if it takes two clicks or three or five if users can accomplish their intentions without any problems and in a timely fashion.

And of course the best way to confirm that is testing the experience with users.

I felt compelled to vent about this because I heard the number of clicks mantra just this week.

For those needing further examples, check out these tried and true articles:

Stop Counting Clicks (UX Booth)

Myth #2: All pages should be accessible in 3 clicks (UX Myths)

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