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User:Quiddity/Blue link color

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Notes about links that are colored grey or black, and why "the default blue" is good in most circumstances.

  • People are more likely to click things that obviously look like links (i.e. without having to subconsciously deduce it from context). Many people will miss information if they don't realize it is available.
  • When a page contains black text that is just text, and black text that is a link, some people will try to click/mouseover everything in case it is a link. This is frustrating.
    • Related example (fixed in newer versions): In this section, find the first link.... – We could only find it if we mouseover/tap half the sentence! That's confusing.
  • During the 2014 Typography refresh, one of the beta-feature iterations included changing all the sidebar links from blue to black (screenshot), and there was a lot of negative feedback (example thread 1, and example thread 2).
  • I can understand and even agree with the perspective that some UI designs are aesthetically improved by using black as the color for links (in various places), but I think it is often mis-used in a way that negatively affects the usability.

Web team agrees!


Non-bold & blue

Reasons: Blue is a more obvious signal that you can interact with these elements (i.e. if they are black you might not realize you can click them) Bold “quiet” buttons next to non-bold links creates a visual imbalance

Counter-argument: what if these “quiet” buttons get mistaken for links?

Response: that’s less of an issue than people not discovering them in the first place

See also