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We work on the Internet and are constantly consuming information. There's a lot of it out there. We'd forget it if we didn't write it down someplace…

Visual Lizard's blog covers everything from web standards to the muppets, from php to comic books to music, just about anything we find interesting

Holiday Break 2020

Happy Holidays everyone! Visual Lizard will be away from regular office duties for our annual break starting Dec 23, 2020. We will return Jan 04, 2021.

During that time servers will continue to be monitored 24/7. We will have intermittent access to email and phone. If anything should come up, please reach out via email to staff@ or call the office, 204-957-5520 and press 0.

And since we are all still social distancing and working from home, we dusted off the old Christmas Music Player. Enjoy!

We wish everyone inner peace, time to reflect, regroup, and energy to comeback together in 2021 with a renewed respect for each other, for the planet, and for everyone to start looking forward, rather than clinging to ways of the past.

Good riddance 2020 and Happy New Year!

“Click here”: You can’t tell me what to do!

For many years now it has been a personal sticking point for me that content writers for the internet continue to use expressions like “click here” or “click link” for anywhere in their content where they would like their audience to visit. Back when the internet was in its infancy this was a way for content creators to help their audience recognize a hyperlink to another page or website.

Many years later, with strong design skills being applied to designs across the webscape, we as developers have found it important to try to apply some standards to how content is presented. We still need to find ways to display hyperlinks to the audience, but those old terms are no longer required, or in some cases do not make sense.

There have been many articles written about why the term “click here” should no longer be used, and this includes the organization that promotes standards on the internet (W3C). This example provided the reasoning behind not using that old term. Not least of which is that it makes for easier reading.

Some people say that the reason they use “click here” is because everyone else does. That doesn’t make it best practice. Mark Caron’s Don’t use “click here” at medium.com expresses the reasons not to use it quite well, including the photo following the second paragraph.

One of the most important reasons not to use “click here” is for the accessibility reasons. People who have visual disabilities rely on technology that reads the content of a web page. This technology is amazing, but it can literally only read what it sees. Its artificial intelligence does not have the ability to interpret what it is seeing in the greater context of what is around it. It cannot tell the audience member who is listening to it that the “click here” it is reading is going to a page with relevant information, or if it is going to a page containing videos of cats in boxes (who doesn’t enjoy videos of cats in boxes). The wording used for hyperlinks should be more robust and relevant to the content that will be appearing rather than a demand that the audience interact with the content. As an example let's look at how a screen reader would interpret a link using "click here", and the same link using a context based approach.

  1. Click here for this article in Smashing Magazine about reasons not to use "click here" goes into this aspect of audience interaction.
  2. This article at Smashing Magazine about reasons not to use "click here" goes into this aspect of audience interaction.

In the first example, the screen reader is going to read out the following: "Link: Click here". This is then followed by what the person will be reading when they do click the link. The written context is there in this example, but it is not part of the hyperlink itself. It requires the audience member to interpret what is being read to them.

In the second example, the screen reader is going to read out the following: "Link: article at Smashing Magazine about reasons not to use "click here"... This is followed by some further detailed information about the article to which the link is associated. In this case the audience member doesn't need to interpret what the link is from its surrounding content. They can determine the context of the link by the words of the link itself.

The point being that while the content surrounding the “click here” may help a person interpret where that link may go, a person who cannot see that content doesn’t have the information to help them decide if the hyperlink is immediately worth clicking.

My significant other is an independent writer. She has told me that the majority of her writing colleagues see and use “click here” prolifically. The majority of their marketing is done online through websites and social media. When I brought up this issue, she was shocked at how much of an audience that she and her other writing colleagues could be missing out on by not following a practice of using context rich hyperlinks. Many of her colleagues write for their own websites as well as creating newsletters and cross-promotion blog articles with other writers. This article by Stephanie Leary is written from the point of view of a writer who works in WordPress, a platform used by a significant population of content creators.

This post has been focused mostly on the design and accessibility reasons not to use “click here”. From a user experience perspective, another reason not to use “click here” is because the consumption of web pages is no longer always in front of a screen with a keyboard and a mouse. The audience is more and more likely going to be interacting with content through a tablet or a phone. The Smashing Magazine article that was mentioned in the example above goes into further detail about how audience interaction is no longer restricted to one interaction style.

The articles that have been referenced here are all from years past, so this is not a new concept. I know this won’t change anything immediately… because it hasn’t yet… but by giving you the information we educate and inform.

Photo of kids sticking their tongues to a frozen flag pole. Credit: Matt Hollingsworth

Covid-19, Work From Home and Social Distancing

If you haven't been paying attention, or aren't taking this seriously, you should watch:

Visual Lizard will be helping flatten the curve by working from home over the foreseeable future. If you need to get ahold of us, please use basecamp, email, or the contact form.

Visual Lizard Will Be Reducing Our Office Time Considerably And Working From Home

Take care of yourself, help others if you are able, and listen to what the experts are telling us needs to be done. Stay safe, and remember that we are all in this together.

Government of Canada UPDATES:

Support for Business during Covid-19

Daily sars-cov-2 case counts in Canada

MB Government and MB Health UPDATES:

March 20, 2020 - Manitoba Government declares state of emergency. No gatherings over 50, 2m social distancing at all times, bars and restaurants can stay open, but no more than 50 people in the building at one time, same with stores that chose to remain open. See CBC news story for MB Mar 20 2020

MB GOV tracking all flights with confirmed COVID-19 cases

NorthForge/MB Gov setup a volunteer to help if you can (or request help if you need it) site

Economic Development Winnipeg has put together a very excellent resource for businesses during the Covid19 pandemic

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