Userability #8 – The Case of Multiple Link Types

Brian Christiansen

May 29th, 2009


This week: How should you style links that trigger different types of interactions?
Duration: 14m | 8 MB
Recorded: March, 2009
Brian Christiansen, UIE Podcast Producer
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This week’s episode features a shadowy UI Designer by the name of Jamis Charles, from a secretive organization located somewhere in Texas. Honestly, that’s all we know about him. Cloak and daggers aside, he brought an intriguing challenge to the show.

Jamis, if that is his real name, asked,

Should link treatments vary for different methods of displaying content to the user? For example, on a single page I have several links. The first one takes me to another page when I click. The second shows a hidden layer with more content if I click. The third shows more content if I hover.

If these links should be styled differently, should the treatments be organized by type of content, or by the user interaction method?

Tune in to see how our hosts answer this challenge while our guest and his project maintain their anonymity. And to hear Robert wax nostalgic for a steak he once ate in Texas.

Have a serious UX question? Send it in and Jared Spool and Robert Hoekman, Jr. will answer it with a healthy dose of levity. Please send your deep, vexing questions to us at We’d love to feature you on the show! Till then, if your’re in a situation like Jamis, let us know how you would handle it in the comments!

One Response to “Userability #8 – The Case of Multiple Link Types”

  1. kenny kutney Says:

    What’s worked well for me (on a couple of projects) has been differentiating commands not so much by content or interaction method, but by importance/relevance of the action. Typically, that’s meant using buttons for the primary action(s), and links for the secondary stuff. For example, on a multi-page sign-up, buttons are used for the main navigational elements (like “Next” or “Buy it Now”) and links for the commands that aren’t as important or are less likely to be used (like “Cancel” or “Change settings”).

    Love the podcasts – keep them coming!

    – kenny

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