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Thread: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

  1. #1

    Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    Going back some way in time I read that hyperlinks should always be blue. It is the industry norm thus helps people recognise a hyperlink when they see one. I use the cursor to do this and not trust to any color. Besides blue often clashes with the page tones and if you leave it to the default color it is glaring to say the least!

    Personally for the last three years at least, I have ignored this piece of advice. Sometimes using blue and sometimes (more often) color coding the link to match the page or text color.

    So guys, should the links still give us the blues? Or can design, taste and color now dictate our choice?

    "It is not what you say or who you are, it is what you do that defines you!"

  2. #2
    WebProWorld MVP claybutler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    There is enough variation on links on the web that you can safely stylize. The most important things are:

    1. Proper contrast. Hyperlinks should look different than the rest of the text
    2. Consistency. Only hyperlinks should have the styling. Don't share with other non-hyperlink items.

    Examples of styling could be:

    red with underline on hover
    green bold underline with no underline of hover
    bold blue no underline but turns lighter blue on hover

    The possibilities are endless. As a general rule I never underline non hyperlinked text...especial if it's colored text . Looks just like a hyperlink. The worse is is when people underline lots of text but don't have underlines on the hyperlinks. Totally confusing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    Wow, that isn't one that I have heard in a long time.

    I stopped forcing all links to blue a long time ago.

    My belief on this [which seems to common on many different websites], is what matters is that the link stands out in such a way that would indicate user interaction is needed. Like a button or underlined are just a couple examples.

  4. #4

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!


    I do the same thing you do, and follow global conventions in link placement; making sure that menu links, if in text, are in the same areas, (top, left or right) and I always duplicate those links in a second set of links horizontally across the bottom of the page so that people do not have to scroll up to navigate to a new page.

    When links occur within a block of text, it's a good idea to have the non-active link color differ slightly from the text color it's embedded in, and the active link color should be different enough from the text color to stand out obviously when the cursor is rolled over it. If you are concerned that visitors will not recognize the link, you can use css to differentiate it even further, by making it bold on rollover (some people find this effect rather jarring), or bold in all states - italic can also be used like this, as well as the underline attribute.

    I believe that the internet has been around long enough that most visitors are much more sophisticated than they were even five years ago. They have visited sites with link schemes of all colors, and tend to focus more on the little pointing hand than the color of the link.

    Gone are the days of building high-visibility sites using MS Word - and thank goodness, because in my view, those were some really ugly sites

    The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference
    between lightning and the lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain

    Hidden Content - Dynamic, Imaginative, Affordable Web Design

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    There are still hundreds of thousands of people who will not recognize a hyperlink unless it is blue and underlined. The question is really not aesthetics, but designing your site in such a way that EVERYONE can recognize your links as what they are.

    Just two weeks ago I sat with a man who is the Development Director for a local non profit organization and who uses the computer a lot. He was not aware that when the cursor turns into a hand it is pointing at a hyperlink. He is not alone in this world.

    People who participate on the WPW forums are computer savvy - at least, a lot more so than the average computer owner "out there", and they find hyperlinks even when they are the same color as the background (oops, that's another subject!!!).

    Silliness aside, I do not use blue for my hyperlinks on my own site. I try to have the hyperlinks organized in such a way that they really are obvious, such as in lists. This does not work for all people.

    But then, nothing works for all people. You do what you think is best for most of your visitors and then hope you are right.

    Have a happy day, wherever you are!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Keimos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North Wales

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    Hi Astro,

    As long as the links are clear to the person on the site do what you feel works. As Weedy Lady said there are more web not savvy people out there than web savvy so it is your choice.

    try things out, check your stats and see what works for your site. It may not work for another. This is what individuality is about.

    Keimos IT - Always learning something new each day
    Hidden Content , Hidden Content my hobby sites

  7. #7

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    Weedy Lady,

    All good points, and thanks for the heads-up...
    Perhaps a link on the index page of a website (or even all pages) that turns off CSS?

    You could label it, EZ ACCESS....

    That way the more experienced/sophisticated visitors can enjoy a well-designed site, and
    those who require a more basic view (with default link attributes) can click a link and get that.

    What do you think?
    The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference
    between lightning and the lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain

    Hidden Content - Dynamic, Imaginative, Affordable Web Design

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    Hi Puamana,

    Sorry, but the more choices you give people, the more confused they get.

    And anyway, there are enough times (a lot, actually) that the .css file doesn't even load when it is supposed to do so, and this here "experienced sophisticated user" sees all kinds of muddled stuff. The default large script text I have set on my computer does make it kind of fun sometimes though.

    But that's even another subject!!!! did ask me what I thought..................

  9. #9

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    Yes, unless you're designing for a very specialist audience, un-visited hyperlinks should be blue and should be underlined - at least when the mouse hovers over them.

    It's not a good idea to make links "bold" on "hover": This can force all the other text shuffle to provide the extra room.

    Many, many years ago after reading a convincing article by a keen (paper) "designer," I changed all un-visited links to Red - as "a call to action"; and all visited links to a more subdued colour.

    The result caused so much confusion that I quickly changed all the links back to the conventional colours.

    Two final points:

    1. People with some eye problems have great difficulty reading underlined text.

    2. The web-browsers on my PCs have "user style sheets" or modified "chrome" which override "designer" colours on web-pages: Pages are displayed with my choice of fonts, sizes and colours. So, I never see people's clever effects.


  10. #10

    Re: Hyperlinks giving me the blues!

    It's great, isn't it, that all these years in, there is still so much room for individuality and experimentation? One thing that drives me mad is when I am reading an article and click on a link within it only to find that, instead of opening in a new window, it has carted me away from the article altogether by opening in the same page, when what I had in mind was to finish the article first and then check out the page which had had time to load in the background!

    Another thing I dislike is links that don't change colour after you have used them so that you find yourself clicking on a link a second time in error... Oh dear, I sound like an old moaner, don't I?!

    Well, for balance, then - a couple of things I do like... Links that are consistent with the colour scheme of the page (I don't care whether they are the same as the text or darker/lighter/toning/contrasting just as long as they don't actually clash with everything else... and... links that form part of the content rather than breaking it up with CLICK HERE or whatever. If the words 'a magnificent view of the valley' are obviously a link to an image, one can click and take a look or read on undisturbed and I like that...

    I think it's important to try and put yourself back in the shoes you wore the first time you entered the Internet and remember how alien it all seemed, however exciting. The simpler and easier to navigate the site was, the more likely you were to enjoy it and want to return... Is one building sites with which to impress other webmasters or with which to appeal to the public? The two things may not, necessarily, be compatible...
    Hidden Content
    The pen is mightier than the sword. Except when the other guy has the sword.

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