Why “we need to reduce clicks” is sometimes a fallacy.
Posted by MarkyRoden on August 19, 2013
In this article i will discuss why I believe the phrase “we need to reduce clicks” is a fallacy (at times).
The plain statement of “we need to reduce clicks” really does not tell the whole truth about an application when it comes to modernization. I believe the true statement is that “We need to reduce clicks that annoy us“. There is a very clear distinction in my mind and I will try and explain.
It is all about design and the user experience.
When a user has to select a piece of information and then “action” it, that is probably at least two clicks.
Two clicks is two clicks right?
In the first scenario (lets say) – Looking at a view of data which needs actioning (circa 1998) to get the job done the user needs to:
- Click on the URL to open the document
- Moves their mouse to, and click the “Approve” butto
In the second scenario (circa 2005) a user is able to:
- Select a checkbox next to a list of document
- Move their mouse to and click the “Approve” button
In the final scenario (2013) the user:
- Right clicks on a document
- Selects “Approve” from the context menu with only a minor mouse movement
In all of these situations the user only has two clicks – but in a decreasing level of annoyance the User Experience gets better and better.
I grant you that if the user has to:
- click on a document
- click the edit button
- change the status combo to edit
- click the save button
that is two clicks too many and we could reduce the number of clicks (but how long does that REALLY take? less than 30 seconds at best).
But is too many clicks really the problem? No I don’t think it is. The problem lie at the heart of efficiency, expectation and patience.
So what’s the real problem here?
The user perceives that they only has a fixed amount of time to dedicate to “having to do their job” and if Approval of something is their responsibility they want to get it done as quick as possible. In today’s business when local LANs are lightning fast the pages refresh quickly. Time itself to do the approval is in the order of seconds, even in the worst case scenario.
But the perception of time taken to achieve the necessary “action” is verbalized as “need to reduce the number of clicks”.
I believe it is better verbalized as “need to reduce the number of clicks that annoy me”, which translates to “make me the least annoyed to have to do this.”
“Reducing the number of clicks” is sometimes a fallacy, improving the user experience of the same number of clicks they have to do to get their job done should be the real goal.
Just for giggles…
One actual way of reducing the number of clicks by 50% (from two to one) would be to add “drag and drop” to the document and have the user drag the document to an “Approved” landing area – I am not sure that would improve the experience though.