Link Anxiety

Business Owners | Designers


Link Anxiety is a real disorder, promise. In fact, you’ve probably experienced it yourself within the past week if you regularly visit websites. It’s that feeling you get when you look at a page and are overwhelmed by the amount of links offered to you. It might be accompanied with shortness of breath, panic, or anger.

To diagnose how you respond, take a look at Calvary Christian School’s website: You have the top link bar, two sections on the right, medium pictures, four blocks below, and the bottom link area. Even the large picture is clickable! Yikes!

The key to ensuring none of your website visitors experience Link Anxiety on your website is to organize, organize, organize and then, test, test, test.

Let’s take another look at this website. The top bar links are the most important, which is good. That’s where the important ones should be. [Quick Side Note: if you are any sort of professional website that is not in a design field, use link capitalization. More importantly, if you are a school that is presumably teaching children…use link capitalization.] Remove the links to the right of the large picture, and extend the large picture all the way across. Remove the click-ability of the large picture. So far, we’ve eliminated 9 links.

I would leave the pictures below, but make sure those are the ones you really want there. Ideally, the three put there should be main links to draw people in. Personally, I would use 1)Discover CCS   2) Current Students  3) Academic Excellence.  Those three links are the most important part of the website – they shouldn’t go to tiny individual pages, but to main ideas the website was created for addressing.

The blocks below seem random to me. I’d replace them with either an actual greeting  from the school or a latest news area. Now obviously the information in the boxes is incredibly important. But remember, the goal is to organize. Who is that information important to? new students. So taking that information off the main page and adding it to a New Student Page, or the Discover CCS page we were using earlier will organize all the links dealing with new students in the new student (hypothetical) bin.

Finally, the bottom bar. That logo and bar really should replace the top bar currently made up of only text. Then the links can be moved down a bit so they are underneath. The bottom bar can include all the information that was at the top of the page (because that’s where people look for that information…in the bottom bar) and all the information currently below the main page. And those links in the current bottom bar? they can be put in the new bottom bar too.

29 Links to 11 Links (a true bottom bar’s links don’t effect Link Anxiety). That is some organization for you. Why is this so important? Because Link Anxiety’s side effects aren’t just shortness of breath, panic, or anger. They also include frustration at the site owner and/or organization and a desire to never visit your site again. And that’s pretty vital.

  • Annalee says:

    I want to go to all of these shops! With no knowledge of web design (just based on pure attraction to the look), I like Stumptown’s page the best out of these 5.

    PS–I just highlighted and deleted part of my comment and found that your highlighting is peach-colored! That’s very cool!