different link formats in one page

28 Jun 2007 - 10:50am
7 years ago
10 replies
724 reads
mtumi
2004

Hi all -

Wondering if anyone has done any research on using different formats
for links in one page. in the page I'm working on right now, I'm
thinking of underlining all links, but having some be red only on
rollover (otherwise black), whereas the ones I'd particularly like to
emphasize are red to start.

The black ones are all part of a long list, so contextually it seems
to be much clearer that they are links. Or so I would think at least.

Any opinions appreciated.

Thanks -

Michael

Comments

28 Jun 2007 - 11:11am
Jeffrey D. Gimzek
2007

I think it is acceptable to use differing link formats on a single
page if it is clear from their visual grouping that they are in fact,
links, and if a consistency is maintained within particular
informational/visual groupings.

eg: One type of link styling in the main navigation, another type in
the body content, and a third type in the footer.

multiple link stylings with in a particular grouping (say, within
body copy) could be permissible and make sense if the links have
vastly different purposes/results.

eg: green colored text is a link to another page within the site, and
blue text is a link to an external site.

personally I am torn on the "all links are underlined" paradigm, as
in many instances the underline can significantly interfere with
readability. i know the purpose of the underline as opposed to a HEX
color is to make the links obvious/readable to the colorblind (ie:
accessibility), but is it worth making things harder to read for the
majority of users to make it better for the minority, who could
simply tell their browser to underline all links ?

I tend to use a different font styling, such as bold, for body copy
links, and use underline on rollover to make it obvious. I admit I am
remiss in reading up on the w3c standard for this.

jd

On Jun 28, 2007, at 9:50 AM, Michael Tuminello wrote:

> Hi all -
>
> Wondering if anyone has done any research on using different formats
> for links in one page. in the page I'm working on right now, I'm
> thinking of underlining all links, but having some be red only on
> rollover (otherwise black), whereas the ones I'd particularly like to
> emphasize are red to start.
>
> The black ones are all part of a long list, so contextually it seems
> to be much clearer that they are links. Or so I would think at least.
>
> Any opinions appreciated.
>
> Thanks -
>
> Michael

--

Jeffrey D. Gimzek
Digital Experience Designer

www.jdgimzek.com
thundercougarfalconbird.blogspot.com

28 Jun 2007 - 11:30am
.pauric
2006

Michael: "whereas the ones I'd particularly like to emphasize are
red to start."

What is the differentiator here?

To me, a link is a link. The user decides based on their own criteria
whether its worthy of a click. If some linked content is less
important then bury it.

I would expect a mid to high experience user will see differing
colours as a sign of someone who's tweaked the visited tag. A
novice user might not understand what you're trying to convey, I
expect.

If there's a clear divide in content importance, use positioning,
not colours. I think.. but I'm wrong most of the time if not more
than that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=17688

28 Jun 2007 - 11:46am
Joseph Selbie
2007

The first question I would ask myself regarding the issue is whether I
had any use for this new user convention any where else in my site or
application. I would also check to see if I had already used
different link colors on other screens and, if so, how did I
differentiate between them and is that differentiation congruent with
my current possibile solution.

If I had previous uses then it makes the puzzle bigger and might
suggest different solutions. If I didn't have previous uses of
different color links then my fist question becomes more important --
will I use this style again and if so where and how.

If it comes down to using the differnet colored links only on this
one screen, I would probably try to come up with another visual
solution instead of using it only once on one screen. A solution
might be to group links by type and then treat the surrounding space
differetnly -- perhaps a back ground color etc. All of those choices
of how to visually highlight the groupings would in turn be highly
influenced by whether I have already used some of these styles
already or if I could use them on other screens.

I am a big fan of consistency and minimizing the number of user
conventions in any given site or application. Especially if you have
infrequent users.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=17688

28 Jun 2007 - 6:49pm
bminihan
2007

We struggle with this where I work, in our corporate portal, whose pages
tend to be chock-full of links with very little body content. We currently
enforce underlines via the stylesheet, but we have begun relaxing the rules
for pages just full of links. The rule we try to follow is: In a list of
links with no content text in between, it's ok to remove the underlines.
Links interspersed with text must be underlined. If we managed all content
and development centrally, I would love to relax the rules even more, as
long as links are always clearly distinguishable. However, with thousands
of content authors, we're trying to keep the standards simple.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Michael
Tuminello
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:50 PM
To: IXDA list
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] different link formats in one page

Hi all -

Wondering if anyone has done any research on using different formats
for links in one page. in the page I'm working on right now, I'm
thinking of underlining all links, but having some be red only on
rollover (otherwise black), whereas the ones I'd particularly like to
emphasize are red to start.

The black ones are all part of a long list, so contextually it seems
to be much clearer that they are links. Or so I would think at least.

Any opinions appreciated.

Thanks -

Michael

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28 Jun 2007 - 7:00pm
Ari
2006

it's generally considered bad practice to offer different styles of links in
a page. doing so leads to inconsistency and consistency as well all know, is
one of the keys to good UI design.
for ex: using underlines for links of one type and non-underlines for
another. or using different colors for links. i never said that links of
different sizes is a bad thing - it looks odd at times but at least with
size you can establish a hierarchy, which most users will get as long as
color and style are carried over.

On 6/28/07, Bryan <bjminihan at nc.rr.com> wrote:
>
> We struggle with this where I work, in our corporate portal, whose pages
> tend to be chock-full of links with very little body content. We
> currently
> enforce underlines via the stylesheet, but we have begun relaxing the
> rules
> for pages just full of links. The rule we try to follow is: In a list of
> links with no content text in between, it's ok to remove the underlines.
> Links interspersed with text must be underlined. If we managed all
> content
> and development centrally, I would love to relax the rules even more, as
> long as links are always clearly distinguishable. However, with thousands
> of content authors, we're trying to keep the standards simple.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
> Michael
> Tuminello
> Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:50 PM
> To: IXDA list
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] different link formats in one page
>
> Hi all -
>
> Wondering if anyone has done any research on using different formats
> for links in one page. in the page I'm working on right now, I'm
> thinking of underlining all links, but having some be red only on
> rollover (otherwise black), whereas the ones I'd particularly like to
> emphasize are red to start.
>
> The black ones are all part of a long list, so contextually it seems
> to be much clearer that they are links. Or so I would think at least.
>
> Any opinions appreciated.
>
> Thanks -
>
> Michael
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

--
--------------------------------------------------
www.flyingyogi.com
--------------------------------------------------

28 Jun 2007 - 7:41pm
bminihan
2007

I couldn't agree more.I enforced the current rule that all links be
underlined. For years none of them were (enforced by my predecessor for
"cleanliness") but user studies showed folks had a difficult time
distinguishing links embedded in body text. After I converted our global
stylesheet to underline all links, we began to see examples (these are
portal "communities") where users were overwhelmed by the clutter on the
page. In A/B sampling, we learned that in some cases, users accepted this
one change to certain pages, when the reason seemed clear. We still enforce
the rule generally, but have allowed exceptions where the user needs warrant
it. Even where we have relaxed the standard, we strive for consistency in
the exception, so if people see the same or similar interface (typically,
long lists of documents) they have the same behavior. It's not perfect, but
the key here is that we make exceptions when user behavior warrants it, and
not to suit the designer's aesthetic.

Bryan

-----Original Message-----
From: Ari Feldman [mailto:ari1970 at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:01 PM
To: Bryan
Cc: Michael Tuminello; IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] different link formats in one page

it's generally considered bad practice to offer different styles of links in
a page. doing so leads to inconsistency and consistency as well all know, is
one of the keys to good UI design.

for ex: using underlines for links of one type and non-underlines for
another. or using different colors for links. i never said that links of
different sizes is a bad thing - it looks odd at times but at least with
size you can establish a hierarchy, which most users will get as long as
color and style are carried over.

28 Jun 2007 - 10:10pm
Manish Govind P...
2006

Just wondering,

The standard conventions of blue text with underline
seems to have changed ages ago. One hardly sees the
links that way. Have we moved from the typical HTML
blue links altogether? I see black/green text with
underlines only on mouse-over. It is left to the user
to determine which text is link and which is not. Has
the user base matured or we have simply moved from
catering to the masses?

Isn't red text a convention for 'danger/error'
anymore?
Would the user be really comfortable clicking on text
that turns red on mouse/roll-over? It would make me
think twice.

Curious,
Manish Govind Pillewar
Sr.Designer, User Experience Design
Bangalore

it's generally considered bad practice to offer
different styles of
links in
a page. doing so leads to inconsistency and
consistency as well all
know, is
one of the keys to good UI design.
for ex: using underlines for links of one type and
non-underlines for
another. or using different colors for links. i never
said that links
of
different sizes is a bad thing - it looks odd at times
but at least
with
size you can establish a hierarchy, which most users
will get as long
as
color and style are carried over.

On 6/28/07, Bryan <bjminihan at nc.rr.com> wrote:
>
> We struggle with this where I work, in our corporate
portal, whose
pages
> tend to be chock-full of links with very little body
content. We
> currently
> enforce underlines via the stylesheet, but we have
begun relaxing the
> rules
> for pages just full of links. The rule we try to
follow is: In a
list of
> links with no content text in between, it's ok to
remove the
underlines.
> Links interspersed with text must be underlined. If
we managed all
> content
> and development centrally, I would love to relax the
rules even more,
as
> long as links are always clearly distinguishable.
However, with
thousands
> of content authors, we're trying to keep the
standards simple.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com]
On Behalf Of
> Michael
> Tuminello
> Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:50 PM
> To: IXDA list
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] different link formats in
one page
>
> Hi all -
>
> Wondering if anyone has done any research on using
different formats
> for links in one page. in the page I'm working on
right now, I'm
> thinking of underlining all links, but having some
be red only on
> rollover (otherwise black), whereas the ones I'd
particularly like to
> emphasize are red to start.
>
> The black ones are all part of a long list, so
contextually it seems
> to be much clearer that they are links. Or so I
would think at
least.
>
> Any opinions appreciated.
>
> Thanks -
>
> Michael

Thanks and Regards
Manish Govind Pillewar
Sr. User Interface Designer-UXD
Bangalore-India

Tel. +91 9880566951 (M)
+91 80 41113967 (Eve.)

___________________________________________________________
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29 Jun 2007 - 12:24am
cfmdesigns
2004

On Jun 28, 2007, at 9:10 PM, Manish Pillewar wrote:

> Isn't red text a convention for 'danger/error' anymore?
> Would the user be really comfortable clicking on text
> that turns red on mouse/roll-over? It would make me
> think twice.

Would it really? I mean *really* really? Or are you maybe
overthinking it. (We all do that at times. Sometimes red is just a
banana.)

When I see a phrase in red text amidst black, I simply see it as
"emphasized", and on a web page, that often means linked. Unless
there's some reason to believe that red is signifying "danger" or
"stop", I don't assume that it is anything more than a stylistic
choice, a way of calling attention to the linked text. (Maybe too
much attention, due to the cultural meanings, that I'll grant you.)

As a caveat to that, I'm assuming enough red links and such that I
can see that there's too much for it to mean "danger". If there's
merely a single such link, then its import will tend more to the
cultural and less to the stylistic.

-- Jim

29 Jun 2007 - 12:26am
cfmdesigns
2004

On Jun 28, 2007, at 6:00 PM, Ari Feldman wrote:

> it's generally considered bad practice to offer different styles of
> links in
> a page. doing so leads to inconsistency and consistency as well all
> know, is
> one of the keys to good UI design.

But what are buttons (of the type which just take you to another
page) if not links styled differently?

> for ex: using underlines for links of one type and non-underlines for
> another. or using different colors for links. i never said that
> links of
> different sizes is a bad thing - it looks odd at times but at least
> with
> size you can establish a hierarchy, which most users will get as
> long as
> color and style are carried over.

In the end, guidelines are made to be broken. If there are good (and
internally consistent) reasons for different styles, by all means,
use them. (Maybe one style takes you to another page while the other
shows an informational popup.)

-- Jim

29 Jun 2007 - 6:12am
mtumi
2004

Here's something interesting I came across. Check out the difference
in these two pages.

http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelwin/

In the first, I count a large number of different link styles,
whereas the latter is very consistent. So, I suppose once more it
comes down to knowing who will be using it (if this is to be taken as
a model).

Michael

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