Best practice: Telling learners to click something or not?

Jun 02, 2020

Hi everyone, I'm doing some research on whether we should include instructions asking learners to click on labeled graphics items (e.g. "Click each item to learn more about X"). I would love to know what other folks are doing and why. Do you:

  • Include instructions with each labeled graphic?
  • Include instructions only with the first labeled graphic in a course?
  • Never include instructions?
  • Include instructions on a case-by-case basis?
  • Other?

Are there are any best practices? (We use Rise if that matters). Thank you for your feedback!


5 Replies
Phil Mayor

From my perspective there are two dynamics at play.

UX would say not to use the term click as click places too much emphasis on mouse mechanics and ignores touch on mobile devices, I would use another verb "Open", "Flip", "View" and in doing so reference the task rather than focusing the user on a mouse.

The other perspective is do you need to have the instruction at all, if the call to action is obvious (such as a button) then I would say no, for flip cards or tabs it maybe necessary to call them out.

My general rule is to avoid instructions unless they are needed and this can be highlighted in the review process, so I typically leave them out of first drafts.

Cary Glenn

I try not to include instructions like "Click or tap the icon...". Ideally it should be clear what the participant is supposed to do. I can see an argument made to put in an explanation once but after that it should be intuitive and if people are expected to take multiple courses it only needs to be in the first course they take. 

Tom Kuhlmann

Agree with above points. I think the UX should follow expected conventions...buttons that need to be clicked look like buttons, etc.

With that said, if the user is interacting in the course one way and you change what they should be doing or how they should interact, then provide instructions. For example, the first time you insert a slider, you want to tell them what to do.

Some people add delayed guidance. For example, after 30 seconds of no activity, they pop up a box that gives them instructions on what to do.

silvia neal

Thank you, all! Your insights are helping me confirm that no instructions are generally the way to go. The problem we have is that the labels on the labeled graphics (in Rise) are easy to miss due to the color (see attachment). Is there a way to change the labels so that they visually pop out? I see there is a way to change the accent color but I don't see any other customizations. Thank you again.

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