does color matter for hyperlinks

27 Feb 2007 - 3:29pm
7 years ago
9 replies
1029 reads
Kinjal
2006

Is it necessary to have hyperlinks as: underlined text and blue color and for the visited link: underlined text and purple color??? Does a user understand a hyperlink from the underlined text or only with the combination of underlined text and a blue color.

My question is does color matter????

____________________________________________________________________________________
Need Mail bonding?
Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.
http://answers.yahoo.com/dir/?link=list&sid=396546091

Comments

27 Feb 2007 - 4:01pm
Josh
2006

Color matters, but shouldn't be a primary differentiator between text and
links.

It is reasonable to say that because the vast majority of sites no longer
use default blue - purple for links most users won't have much of a problem
accessing links as long as there is sufficient contrast.

There should also be consideration for the colorblind who may only be able
to differentiate between shades.

Check out Jakob Nielsen's post about link styles from 2004.
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html

Josh Viney
EastMedia Group
http://www.eastmedia.com
http://idenity.eastmedia.com

27 Feb 2007 - 3:58pm
Chris Bobbett
2004

Hi Kinjal,

Of the two elements typically used to denote a hyperlink (color and
underline), I would say the underline is extremely important to link
recognition. The color is less important. You have some flexibility there.
I'm sure all would agree that the most recognizable combination is the
default blue text with an underline (for a link) and default purple with an
underline (for a visited link). If you do stray from these highly
recognizable combinations, I would take care to ensure you don't use the
link color in other text elements, like a header, if they are NOT going to
be hyperlinked. Try to reserve your chosen link color for links only.

Kind regards,

Chris

On 2/27/07, Kinjal <kinju_3 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Is it necessary to have hyperlinks as: underlined text and blue color and
> for the visited link: underlined text and purple color??? Does a user
> understand a hyperlink from the underlined text or only with the combination
> of underlined text and a blue color.
>
> My question is does color matter????
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> Need Mail bonding?
> Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.
> http://answers.yahoo.com/dir/?link=list&sid=396546091
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

27 Feb 2007 - 4:11pm
.pauric
2006

Here's a good article on the hyperlink from a practical design perspective
<http://www.thinkvitamin.com/features/design/dont-be-the-weakest-link>

27 Feb 2007 - 4:37pm
Will Parker
2007

Color doesn't matter, but usability, accessibility and expectations do.

There have been numerous studies that the majority of users _expect_
hyperlinks to be blue+underlined, when studied in large,
undifferentiated groups. (I haven't seen any similar studies
regarding expectations regarding the expected appearance of visited
links.) More experienced users require less hand-holding in this
area, but you do still need to give them some orientation clues.

My experience is that most active Web users readily adapt to
alternate hyperlink appearances as long as the links are easily
distinguishable from surrounding text, especially when the link
appearance changes when the cursor is hovered over the link. For
example, a link that is bold, dark red, and not underlined might
change to bold, bright red and underlined when the cursor is hovering
over it.

You should make sure that your hyperlinks are readily distinguishable
from the surrounding text, by color, weight and/or text-decoration,
AND screen-reader-friendly tags. Sticking with the average case of a
normally-sighted person on a large display screen, text weight and
contrast matter more than color.

As for accessibility, Liz Strauss has a good set of tutorials on
building accessible hyperlinks at http://www.successful-blog.com/1/
how-to-code-accessible-links-part-1/.

- Will

Will Parker
wparker at ChannelingDesign.com
206-228-3187 (cell-preferred)
206-783-1943 (home office)

"The only people who value your specialist knowledge are the ones who
already have it." - William Tozier

On Feb 27, 2007, at 12:29 PM, Kinjal wrote:

> Is it necessary to have hyperlinks as: underlined text and blue
> color and for the visited link: underlined text and purple color???
> Does a user understand a hyperlink from the underlined text or only
> with the combination of underlined text and a blue color.
>
> My question is does color matter????
>
>
>
>
>
> ______________________________________________________________________
> ______________
> Need Mail bonding?
> Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.
> http://answers.yahoo.com/dir/?link=list&sid=396546091
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

27 Feb 2007 - 4:39pm
cfmdesigns
2004

>From: Chris Bobbett <cbobbett at gmail.com>
>
>Of the two elements typically used to denote a hyperlink (color and
>underline), I would say the underline is extremely important to link
>recognition. The color is less important.

I disagree. What's important is the clear differentiation between the linked text and what is around it. Underline and color together are better than either by themselves, but underline adds a lot more "noise" to a block of text. A color differentiation -- something that is easy to see even for those with contrast and color-blindness problems -- makes for a better reading experience.

If it's a concern, have optional CSS available for your visitors. If one needs the underlines, it should be easy enough to allow for that. (That and define things in CSS to start with so they can use their own local CSS file rather than yours. If they are a user who always needs underlining, they should have set thing up on their end to ensure it whenever they hit a compliant site.)

>I would take care to ensure you don't use the
>link color in other text elements, like a header, if they are NOT going to
>be hyperlinked. Try to reserve your chosen link color for links only.

Definite agreement there. The identification method, whatever one is used, should be reserved only for actual linked text.

-- Jim

27 Feb 2007 - 6:12pm
Chris Bobbett
2004

On 2/27/07, Jim Drew <cfmdesigns at earthlink.net> wrote:
> I disagree. What's important is the clear differentiation between the
linked text and what is around it. Underline and color together are better
than either by themselves, but underline adds a > lot > more "noise" to a
block of text.

I mostly agree with you Jim.

The noise created by underlines depends greatly on the density of links in a
given area. Increased link density, especially if underlined links, would
certainly create a lot of visual noise and may be detrimental to the
readability. Imagine a tag cloud with underlines!!!

While I agree that context around a link begins to set the stage for the
user, sometimes a link is simply floating in open space with little or no
context to help create that differentiation. So, no matter what the context,
whether in a body of text or floating in a header (i.e. log in link),
underlined text is MORE clear than non-underlined text. Without the
underline, the user may have some question, even if it's a minor question,
as to the expected behavior of that text. I'm not suggesting that removing
the underline will cause most users to stumble, but will require a tad more
thought and/or discovery on their part before they understand. This is
obviously splitting hairs, but the underlying question is HOW obvious do you
want to be with the user? Do we want them to know in a millisecond of seeing
a page every link on that page? And, of course, when you weigh this goal
(link recognition) with other goals (i.e. aesthetic considerations), you may
very well decide to remove the underline. It's not a deal breaker if
executed well. I personally tend to prefer solutions with more clarity
whenever possible.

Respectfully,
Chris

28 Feb 2007 - 1:16am
Suneel Posimreddy
2007

If there is a text content, most of the users doesnt interact it with mouse, they just read it. There should be a clear differentiation between the plain text and linked text. I would suggest underline and different color (much better if there is differenciation for visited to recall user's visited pages) for linked text. Visual look is managable, for instance if you feel underlined text is creating noice, you can try it with lighter color (ex: gray text links on black text and you can have a brighter color on hover).

I feel this is more subjective, we better think of the user how he reacts

thanks,
suneel posimreddy

Chris Bobbett <cbobbett at gmail.com> wrote:
On 2/27/07, Jim Drew wrote:
> I disagree. What's important is the clear differentiation between the
linked text and what is around it. Underline and color together are better
than either by themselves, but underline adds a > lot > more "noise" to a
block of text.

I mostly agree with you Jim.

The noise created by underlines depends greatly on the density of links in a
given area. Increased link density, especially if underlined links, would
certainly create a lot of visual noise and may be detrimental to the
readability. Imagine a tag cloud with underlines!!!

While I agree that context around a link begins to set the stage for the
user, sometimes a link is simply floating in open space with little or no
context to help create that differentiation. So, no matter what the context,
whether in a body of text or floating in a header (i.e. log in link),
underlined text is MORE clear than non-underlined text. Without the
underline, the user may have some question, even if it's a minor question,
as to the expected behavior of that text. I'm not suggesting that removing
the underline will cause most users to stumble, but will require a tad more
thought and/or discovery on their part before they understand. This is
obviously splitting hairs, but the underlying question is HOW obvious do you
want to be with the user? Do we want them to know in a millisecond of seeing
a page every link on that page? And, of course, when you weigh this goal
(link recognition) with other goals (i.e. aesthetic considerations), you may
very well decide to remove the underline. It's not a deal breaker if
executed well. I personally tend to prefer solutions with more clarity
whenever possible.

Respectfully,
Chris
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

suneel posimreddy
An Image is Worth Thousand Words

28 Feb 2007 - 9:29am
DrWex
2006

Josh

On 2/27/07, Josh Viney <jviney at gmail.com> wrote:
> It is reasonable to say that because the vast majority of sites no longer
> use default blue - purple for links most users won't have much of a problem
> accessing links as long as there is sufficient contrast.

What is the basis for this, please? It is not my personal experience
that the "vast majority" of sites do this, but I know that my view is
likely skewed because I use the Web mostly for news, weather, sports,
and some shopping. I find that the sites I use (news.google.com,
cnn.com, amazon.com, espn.com) have quite a plethora of blue
underlined text links.

Is there research on the general trend within Web sites?

Best,
--Alan

28 Feb 2007 - 4:40pm
Josh
2006

Alan,

I may have exaggerated my statement by saying the "vast majority", but I
will say that the vast majority of sites I visit have gotten past the
default color schemes. I believe the link I referenced to Useit mentions
that this phenomena, and I will try to dig up some stats. In my opinion, use
of a specific color as a primary link identifier across all web sites is a
significant design limitation and relies on user ability to discern colors.
I would recommend that it's not really about the color, it's about the
contrast.

Additionally, there probably isn't 1 globally correct way to display links,
because the context of the link plays a significant role. We use links in
many ways that require alternate styles.

Examples:
Links in navigation
Links as buttons
Links w/in body content
Supplemental links w/in a series of links
Links as images
Links that trigger tooltip type reponses

--
Josh Viney
EastMedia Group
http://www.eastmedia.com

Syndicate content Get the feed