problem solving / Tech Tips

Tech Tip #108: Three-click Rule

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: Some websites/blogs are confusing. It takes too long to do something. What’s with that?

A: I hadn’t put a lot of thought to this until I read Pete‘s response to Kate’ post about Blog Navigation. He cited the oft-debunked-but-just-as-oft-followed 3-click rule  made popular by Web designer Jeffrey Zeldman in his book, “Taking Your Talent to the Web.”. This claims ‘that no product or piece of content should ever be more than three clicks away from your Web site’s main page’. 

This is true with not just programming a website, but teaching tech to students. During my one-score-and-seven-years of teaching, I’ve discovered if I keep the geeky stuff to a max of 2-3 steps, students remember it, embrace it, and use it. More than three steps, I hear the sound of eyes glazing over.

Whether you agree with the ‘rule’ or not, it remains a good idea to make information easy and quick to find. Readers have a short attention span. Same is true of students.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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