Guideline: To allow users to efficiently find what they want, design so that the most common tasks can be successfully completed in the fewest number of clicks.
Comments: Critical information should be provided as close to the homepage as possible. This reduces the need for users to click deep into the site and make additional decisions on intervening pages. The more steps (or clicks) users must take to find the desired information, the greater the likelihood they will make an incorrect choice. Important information should be available within two or three clicks of the homepage.
One study found that the time to complete a task was closely related to the number of clicks made by users. It appears that users will keep clicking as long as they feel like they are getting closer to their goal. Another study showed that when users were trying to find a target, they were no more likely to quit after three clicks than after 12 clicks.
Sources: Evans, 1998; Levine, 1996; Nall, Koyani and Lafond, 2001;
Nielsen and Tahir, 2002; Porter, 2003; Spyridakis, 2000; Zimmerman, et al., 2002; Zimmerman, et al., 1996.