The Emergency entrance to our hospital is different than the medical building entrance. As with all hospitals, there is a big red EMERGENCY sign with an arrow directing you past the medical building entrance to the emergency entrance.
What I noticed today (on a scheduled trip to the doctor’s office – not the emergency room!) was that if in your rush to the emergency room you miss the big red EMERGENCY sign and turn anyway into the medical building entrance, there is immediately another big red sign that again directs you to the emergency entrance from the entrance to the main parking lot. And if you somehow miss that one, around the next turn is yet another big red sign pointing the frantic driver to the Emergency entrance. They are everywhere on the campus and around the parking lot.
You Can Always Get There from Here, Quickly
There is a main, direct route to the Emergency room. But even if you get off that route, you can always easily find it – no matter where you are.
Well designed software is the same way.
What is the main purpose of your application? What is the most urgent reason a person will be in your app? Answer that and put that one purpose always only one-click away.
That’s what we did with LeadsOnRails lead management software. Anchored in the top left corner of every single screen in the application is the “Add a Lead” link. This way a LeadsOnRails user never has to say “hold on a second while I access the screen to take your information”. One click – they are there.
What would your big, red, “Emergency” link be?
Placing a persistent, anchored link in an application also reminds users and app designers of the primary purpose of the app. In our case, to capture leads. In the case of a ticketing system, there should be a persistent link to “enter new ticket”. In the case of a mapping application, a consistent and persistent box to enter an address. A purchasing system, a link to “checkout”. If you cannot decide on a persistant one-click link, then perhaps the app is trying to do too much.