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Tech - Posts to comp.infosystems.www.*

From: "Philipp Lenssen" <phil@mrinfo.de>
Newsgroups: comp.infosystems.www.authoring.site-design
Subject: Re: Link decoration?
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 10:59:22 +0200
Message-ID: <9q6bbo$fg9$1@swifty.westend.com>
"Alan Webb" <webby@htp-tel.de> wrote in message
> I have read in some of the more purist articles that can be found on
> the web that links should look like links and be blue and underlined.
> However, I have to say the more professional looking sites I have come
> across and those that imo have more attractive navigation WITHOUT
> using graphics are those that apply css to text links. Examples are
> mouse over colour change, not having a link underlined and slight
> changes in size on mouse over. I understand the purist(?) view that
> this can be confusing as a link is traditionally blue and underlined
> and it can be frustrating to some users but I feel that if you use a
> bullet with it and lay text out positionally so as it is clear it is a
> link then this will stop any confusion enabling enhancement through
> css at no real cost with regards to making the navigation clear.

My approach is to either put the links in a navigation area (that clearly
renders as such), or underline them (and sometimes of course, to do both).
As a visitor, I can adapt easily to different colors, but it's always a bit
confusing if links in a contentual area are colored but not underlined (or
even just rendered as list items, and so on). I don't think there's any fail
safe and good looking solution, you need to be a bit of a designer to judge
what is still intuitive, and even then there's probably some users who take
half a second longer than usual to figure out where to click.

Here's a german site which totally fails to communicate links as such (it's
one site of many, many news sites that do so):
There's parts where there's absolutely no font differentiation between
normal text and links.

> I am unsure for example if on my test homepage whether to get rid of
> the underline from the links on my test homepage
> (www.abakus-internet-marketing.de/index6.htm) or simply not use any
> css on the links and just leave them as normal text links. I actually
> would believe they would look far better without the underline and
> perhaps with some effects such as resizing on mouse over by a point or
> 2.

It's risky to not suggest link colors, but to use a background image and to
set the background color of the page.
Don't confuse "leaving the default link color" with "setting it to blue";
even though blue is the default link color for most users, practically every
browser allow using other colors in the options. What if my IE user style
has a black background, and all my link and text is white? You would
override my background color with your white, and leave my link colors as
they are; white on white renders invisible.

Philipp Lenssen
M+R Infosysteme