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Should visited links get distinctive styling?

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
This week's Design and Usability Tactics e-newsletter discusses whether visited links should get distinctive styling.

Do you think visited links should get distinctive styling? How do you highlight embedded links on a Web page? What do you think about Jacob Nielsen's assertions on this topic that Michael Meadhra mentioned in this column? Please share your thoughts on link styling.

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Design Eye for the Usability Guy

by EricMAllen In reply to Should visited links get ...

In a takeoff of "***** Eye", these "Fab Five" redesigned the recommendations. A must read.

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Color as the Only Cue to a Link?

by jsokohl In reply to Should visited links get ...

I think this approach provides a usability problem for color-blind or color-deficient users. That's why the underline works well as an additional cue.

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Author's response

by Meadhra In reply to Color as the Only Cue to ...

You are absolutely correct that using color alone to designate links is not a good idea because it raises accessibility issues for visually-impaired users. Some additional cue is necessary, and underlining is the traditional choice. However, underlining isn't the ONLY acceptable alternative.

Other typographic treatments (such as boldface) can serve the same purpose very effectively. In some circumstances, such as a navigation bar, context alone may be enough to identify a link. Web designers must be very careful when using alternate link styling, but I think it's possible to do so successfully.

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