Myth #2: All pages should be accessible in 3 clicks
Usability tests have long challenged the so called three-click rule. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t leave your site if they’re unable to find the desired information in 3 clicks. In fact, the number of necessary clicks affects neither user satisfaction, nor success rate. That’s right; fewer clicks don’t make users happier and aren’t necessarily perceived as faster.
What really counts here is ease of navigation, the constant scent of information along the user’s path. If you don’t make the user think about the clicks, they won’t mind having a few extra clicks.
Studies that challenge the three-click rule:
- UIE’s usability tests showed that people don’t quit after 3 clicks and don’t feel frustrated if they have to click more. – Testing the Three-Click Rule or The 3 Click Rule on Medium
- Jakob Nielsen’s usability tests found that “users’ 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.” from the book Prioritizing Usability, quoted in Highlights from Prioritizing Web Usability.
- Further UIE usability tests show that it’s not the number of clicks but the well-labeled links with information scent that play a key role in usability. – Getting Confidence From Lincoln
- A practical advice is to replace the three-click rule with the one-click rule: “Every click or interaction should take the user closer to their goal while eliminating as much of the non-destination as possible.” – Breaking the Law: The 3 Click Rule
- David Hamill’s thoughts on why the three-click rule is nonsense: Stop Counting Clicks
- An article by CX Partners about the rule: 3 isn’t the magic number.