The Importance Of Clear Links


Share on LinkedIn

Tools can be really helpful when they are well designed and easy to find. It is not enough however to build a tool and put it online—it needs to be integrated properly with other content so that it is available to the right consumers when they need it. At the very least, adding a tool cannot cause confusion.

While recently reviewing ‘How Much Do I Need’ calculators on twenty leading US Life Insurance sites, we came across a situation where a confusing link to a useful tool could well lead to task abandoment or at least annoyance.

The graphic below was on the main life insurance page of a leading insurer. Although it appears to link a calculator, it instead leads to a life insurance quote engine.

Bad Tool Link

There is a calculator on the destination page but you have to complete step one of the quote process before you can use it. Unless you have time and patience, the chances are you wouldn’t do that. Most people would just get slowed down in mid-task, and many would get annoyed.

This is a pity, because the calculator itself is well designed and ranked highly against competitors, and people that would find it while in the ‘get a quote’ task mindset would probably love it. So the issue is that the expectation formed by the link is not met by the destination.

The linking confusion is compounded by the fact that this company actually does have another (standalone) calculator linked from the end of the main life insurance page.

On most sites tasks aren’t managed: content is. Each department has its own content and puts it up on the website. On the other hand, consumers don’t think in terms of departments; they think in terms of their own tasks. This is why it is important that companies get staff to manage tasks rather than functional departments.

If there had been someone properly managing the ‘How Much Do I Need?’ task on the site from which the example above was taken, they’d almost certainly have ensured that this confusion did not arise.

Customer-centric, task-focused design should always be at the top of the agenda when adding new content is being considered.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Terry Golesworthy
As the president of The Customer Respect Group for 7 years, I focus on the online experience of consumers. Online experience has always been bigger than the company website, from the response to email to integration to other offline channels. It has now grown to include social media.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here