Putting links too close together is no laughing matter. In fact, it has caused a good deal of embarrassment and ridicule for people who can’t touch the right links.

Sometimes, the ‘fat-finger error‘ isn’t the fault of the user at all, but is the fault of the designer who placed website hyperlinks too close together when they were designing a site.

The fat-finger error was blamed when, in 2018, Samsung accidentally issued 2.8 billion shares to its employees, when an employee misentered a number. The mistake cost Samsung $330 million – 10% of its value.

How to Avoid Fat Finger Problems

A general rule for ensuring links and other clickable elements are optimised for mobile is to ensure adequate space around them along with padding within the element itself. For example, the Apple Human Interface Guidelines recommend a 44pt x 44pt on all touch targets. Although other guides recommend less space, we recommend this as a good starting point to ensure a positive user experience and avoiding any so-called fat-finger problems on a website.

In the end, this means that any link on your website, when viewed on a mobile device, should be at least 44px wide and 44px high. Normally width is not the issue here, but rather the height as 44px text is larger than most body text. The adequate height can be achieved through padding in the case of buttons or stand-alone links and appropriate line heights for body text.

Change the Name: From Fat-Finger to Not Mobile-Friendly

Fat-finger is not a meaningful term and does not reflect the reality of the problem that occurs when trying to use websites that are neither mobile nor user-friendly.

Modern website development promotes accessibility above all else. The least we can do is put the onus on the designer who has control over a website.

As modern development switches to a focus on accessibility, so should the naming of common issues. We can all relate to the fact that different individuals have different hand and finger sizes. Let us embrace this individuality and design to provide access to the largest amount of people as possible.

Does None of this Make Sense to You?

The Artlab specialises in creating mobile-first websites, that are easy to use and rank above others in search engines.

If you would like more information on any of the points raised in this blog or would like to discuss a project, give us a call at 0161 974 0974 or drop us an email at hello@theartlab.co.uk.