A little while ago I devoted myself to the wording of hyperlinks. I set up a case study in order to find out if wording influences our users’ action, success rates, and their perception of our website. We tested three versions of the ‘About NESCAFÉ’ page, with generic, informative, and intriguing wording. Results show that generic and informative wording increased the chance of finding information, while the intriguing wording was more catchy and appealing.
What did generic, informative, and intriguing mean again?
- Generic wording is the original wording as we find it on the NESCAFÉ website
- Informative wording is adapted to offer plain but explicit and detailed information
- Intriguing wording is adapted to a more informal and exaggerated style
Three versions of the website, a generic, an informative, and an intriguing version were tested with three separate tests. In total, 90 people participated, which resulted in approximately 30 participants per test. All three tests had an identical setup and included the following two questions and one task:
- Where do you click for information about the production of NESCAFÉ coffee?
- time and success rate were measures
- Where do you click for information about iced coffee?
- time and success rate were measures
- Click on the elements that you think are interesting
- elements that appeal to the participants were identified
The informative and generic version scored almost the same on time and success rate. While informative links had a better time score, the generic version had a better success rate. Both generic and informative wording support the information finding process.
Intriguingly worded links were not sufficiently associated with the searched information and therefore scored low on both time and success rate. They did, however, attract attention and score high on likes. For example, the ‘Did you know?’-question as well as visual elements were almost ignored in the intriguing version, while they were very appealing to participants in the generic and informative version.
Compared with the generic version, embedded links were more noticed in both the informative and intriguing version. Besides, embedded links as well as headlines in the main body were better recognized than links in the sub navigation.
For your website, you should always aim at scoring high on both time and success rate. Use clear and simple links for your navigation. These should be informative but still simple, precise, and established. Find a good balance between offering information and making your website fun. To cheer up your website without loosing your structure and credibility, use intriguing links embedded in the main. Your links should be engaging and fun but still clear, appropriate, and coherent. Find out if you have chosen the right wording for your hyperlinks and set up a Usabilla test in only a few steps.
Thanks for your participation
At this point I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the short Usabilla survey which was set up for this case study. As announced, we give away one of Amazon’s new Kindles to one of the participants. I’d like to congratulate our lucky winner Sjoris Timmer. The winner was chosen randomly from all participants.
I now explain the analysis of the results in detail. If you want, you can skip to the conclusion at the end.
In the following, I’ll dive into the analyze of the test results and show how participants reacted differently to the generic, informative, and intriguing version of the webpage. The analyse is broken up by test question/task.
Where do you click for information about the production of NESCAFÉ coffee?
The informative version resulted in the best average time for finding the answer, while the generic version scored the best on success rate. The intriguingly worded version did not support the information finding process.
In the generic version, almost all participants answered the question correctly by clicking on ‘About Coffee’ in the top navigation. It took participants an average of 29 seconds to answer this question.
For the informative version, participants only needed an average of 20 seconds to answer. However, not quite as many participants got it right. About one third clicked on the correct link and one third clicked on the embedded ‘History of NESCAFÉ’ link in the main body. The rest clicked either on ‘NESCAFÉ and Sustainability’ in the top navigation, or on ‘History of NESCAFÉ’ in the sub navigation on the right hand sight to find the information.
The intriguingly worded version resulted in the longest average time participants needed to decide on an answer; 32 seconds. Almost none of the participants guessed to find the information under link ‘Not just coffee’ which represented the ‘About Coffee’ link in this version. Instead, they clicked on the embedded link ‘learn about ‘NESCAFÉ’s rich history’ and on “A heart for our nature” in the top navigation.
Where do you click for information about iced coffee?
Participants needed approximately the same time for all three versions. The generic version had the best success rate, followed by the informative version. Again, the intriguing version did seem to support the information finding process.
In the generic version, all participants successfully found information about iced coffee. It is interesting, however, that half of the participants clicked on ‘coffee recipes’ in the sub navigation on the right hand side of the page and half clicked on the corresponding content in the main body. Average time needed by participants to answer this question was eleven seconds.
In the informative version, almost all participants found the correct link within an average of eleven seconds. However, in this version, more participants clicked on the embedded link in the main body than on the link in the sub navigation. Embedded links were well recognized.
Answers for the intriguingly worded version were more diverse. The link ‘coffee recipes’ was renamed in ‘get inspired’. This link was not recognized as potentially bearing the desired information. About one third of the participants clicked on the embedded link “recipe collection” while another third clicked on the embedded link “Nescafe coffees”. The rest of the clicks were dispersed.
Click on the elements that you think are interesting
While scoring low on the first two questions, intriguing wording attracted a lot of attention and scored consistently high on ‘likes’. Both generic and informative wording resulted in quite disperse reactions.
About the generic version, participants liked very diverse elements. Some liked links, such as ‘About coffee’, ‘Coffee and well-being’, and ‘Sustainability’ in the main menu, or the content element ‘Coffee recipes’. Links in the main body were liked more than the same links in the sub navigation. Participants also liked visual elements such as the logo and photos. About half of the participants liked the ‘Did you know?’-question at the top of the site.
In the informative version, participants were also very diverse in their opinion. Participants marked visual elements as likable, however, they payed even more attention to links in the navigation or embedded in the text. Participants also liked the ‘Did you know?’-question at the top of the site.
In the intriguingly worded version, participants really focused on the links. Almost all points clot on links in the top, and sub navigation as well as on embedded links. No participants liked any of the visual elements on the site.
This case study was set up to gain insight into the influence of different hyperlink wording. Results show that generic and informative wording increased the chance of finding information, while the intriguing wording was more catchy and appealing. Make sure you have chosen the right wording for your hyperlinks and set up your own Usabilla test.