[thelist] Do you use :visited in CSS?

Barney Carroll barney.carroll at gmail.com
Fri Oct 30 04:42:11 CDT 2009

The problem is that unlike :hover, :focus and :active, which correspond
directly to user actions, :visited is a more abstract relationship — the
connection between whatever effect you're producing to distinguish this
'state' relates to the end result of their action (in their interaction
history) as opposed to the action itself (immediately, on that specific link

Combine this with the fact that their is no de facto standard (save for the
browser-defined one: purple text-colour) for illustrating this state, and it
becomes very difficult to impart the intended meaning to the user.

Personally, I believe that the user should be informed as to whether or not
they may have visited the link destination by the link in its default state
implicitly — if they don't know that already, then it's probably because the
link text is misleading, the content of the destination page was forgettable
or confusing (or otherwise didn't achieve what the user perceived its
function to be), or the same destination is linked to from too many
different link objects with diverging link text.

In other words if the user can't tell whether or not they have already
visited the page described from the link's text and context alone, there is
already a problem with your site. If you add non-standard stylistic
descriptors for this notion, it is more likely to confuse the user as to the
exact nature of the link.

One has to remember that if Nielsen had his way, most of the internet would
just revert to default browser styles anyway ;)

Barney Carroll

barney.carroll at gmail.com
07594 506 381

2009/10/30 Fred Jones <fredthejonester at gmail.com>

> Nielsen says { http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9605.html } that one of
> the "Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design" is "Not Changing the Color of
> Visited Links".
> Do people agree? I personally do NOT change the color of visited links
> because I think it's confusing to users who don't know what it means.
> --
> * * Please support the community that supports you.  * *
> http://evolt.org/help_support_evolt/
> For unsubscribe and other options, including the Tip Harvester
> and archives of thelist go to: http://lists.evolt.org
> Workers of the Web, evolt !

More information about the thelist mailing list