[thelist] Links and visited links

Lee Kowalkowski lee.kowalkowski at googlemail.com
Fri Nov 16 03:47:42 CST 2012

On 15 November 2012 17:37, Nan Harbison <nan at nanharbison.com> wrote:

> I have a question about a.link, visited, hover, active. I think it has
> become quite standard to have the main navigation links always be the same
> color, not changed if they are already visited, but they always have some
> change when hovered over.

If you mean something like in a menu, then yes.  If your main navigation is
something like a list of your recent blog articles, then no.

> So what about links in the other parts of content on pages? It was pretty
> standard at one point (I think) to have the link be a different color if it
> had already been visited. But I don't think I see that any more in
> websites,
> even though some purchased/free designs do have the visited color be
> different.

You don't see this anymore?  Google search results page still does this -
and it's mega handy that it does.  Perhaps you've been frequenting bad
sites, I dunno, there are plenty of them around.

> What do you think about this? Should the link color always be consistent?

It depends on context, would it be useful to the user if they could tell
they've already visited a link?

If you stray from the blue & purple default, then you've invented your own
convention, and when the user sees two new different colours for links,
they're not necessarily going to know which is which.

As many authors don't like the blue (or purple), they change the default
colour for their links, which means they can no longer really use colour to
distinguish between visited and non-visited links in any intuitive way that
they would be happy with.  The only intuitive method I can think of would
be to make non-visited links bold like email clients do with unread emails.
 Neither techniques have mass appeal, so most designs seem not to bother
distinguishing them.


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