A clear call to action goes a long way

When researching websites, I often see a lot of call to actions like “Read more” linking to an article or deeper content. There are a number of reasons why this is not a great idea.

The most obvious is that the “Read more” description isn’t a description at all. It doesn’t tell me anything about what I will be reading next. A great number of users merely scan websites and since links usually stand out in color or style, will only read text stands stands out from the crowd. Those users will likely not follow a ‘read more’ link.

Another group of users is the one that relies on screen readers. Screen readers read out links to visually impaired users, and if you have 20 “Read more” links on a page, this is far from helpful.

The third point I want to make is that if you are designing for emotion, you have to make calls to action more engaging. Compare the calls to action in the marquee on IBM.com with the more generally dreaded “Read More”. They actually took their time and wrote great calls to action that are descriptive and make you want to click that link. You do the math.