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shouldn't [un]visited link colors be a browser issue?

P: n/a
What's Nielsen talking about in
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040503.html
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html
Can't a good browser keep track of visited vs. unvisited link colors?
Is my site deficient as I have not messed with link colors?
Does Nielsen address why all this can't be left up to the browser?
Are link colors supposed to be special, like background images, to make
a big impression?
Jul 20 '05 #1
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5 Replies


P: n/a
On Fri, 28 May 2004 05:31:19 +0800, Dan Jacobson <ji*****@jidanni.org>
wrote:
What's Nielsen talking about in
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040503.html
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html
Can't a good browser keep track of visited vs. unvisited link colors?
Is my site deficient as I have not messed with link colors?
Does Nielsen address why all this can't be left up to the browser?
Are link colors supposed to be special, like background images, to make
a big impression?


I think he's saying that if you do change one, change the other to ensure
a contrast. If you leave it as default, I think that's fine.

However, there are times when it's advisable to change link color. If your
design uses blue or purple or red text or backgrounds at all, tweaking the
colors might be advisable - either the design colors or the link colors,
or both. Indeed, though, it's never "wrong" to change link colors, as long
as you keep the "cool color"=unvisited and "warm color"=visited contrasted
in your design. Still, it's clear that the more you change the colors from
what users generally expect, the greater chance you will confuse your
users.
Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
On Fri, 28 May 2004 05:31:19 +0800, Dan Jacobson <ji*****@jidanni.org>
wrote:
What's Nielsen talking about in
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040503.html
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html
Can't a good browser keep track of visited vs. unvisited link colors?
Is my site deficient as I have not messed with link colors?
Does Nielsen address why all this can't be left up to the browser?
Are link colors supposed to be special, like background images, to make
a big impression?


I think Nielson here is saying that *if* a stylesheet (or nasty HTML)
is used to change the colours of a link there should be different
colours for both. Most sites do change these colours, but many change
them both to the same colour.

The second article is in similar vein: if you change the text and link
colours, make them different.

In general, you should either set no colours or set all colours, not
some half-way mish-mash. When you are setting all colours, the visited
and unvisited links should be of different colours and the text and
links should be of different colours.

In an ideal world documents would be devoid of colour schemes and I
would pick one in my browser to apply, but sadly that is not world we
live in. (despite some poor attempts in browsers to emulate this
perfect world)

Regards,
-Claire
Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a
On Thu, 27 May 2004 23:11:18 +0100, Claire Tucker <fa**@invalid.com> wrote:
In an ideal world documents would be devoid of colour schemes and I
would pick one in my browser to apply, but sadly that is not world we
live in. (despite some poor attempts in browsers to emulate this
perfect world)


You can set up a user stylesheet and set colors as !important. This will
override author's suggestions.
Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a
"Dan Jacobson" <ji*****@jidanni.org> wrote in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html:
What's Nielsen talking about in
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040503.html
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html
Can't a good browser keep track of visited vs. unvisited link colors?


We just had this discussion.

If you specify text color you have to specify background color. If
you specify background color that may conflict with the browser
default (or user-set) link colors, so you have to specify those too.
Nielsen's point, as I understand it, is that when you do specify
link colors you should specify ones that are similar to what people
expect.

The alternative is not just leaving link colors unspecified, it's
leaving all text and background colors unspecified. While that's a
good minimalist approach, few Web site authors can really accept not
specifying any colors at all.

(It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that if you do
specify colors you should do it in CSS, not by the <font> or <body>
tag.)

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/
2.1 changes: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/changes.html
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a
Dan Jacobson <ji*****@jidanni.org> wrote in message news:<87************@jidanni.org>...
What's Nielsen talking about


Several things at once.

One of them is that if your page has two sorts of link; those for
inter-page navigation (i.e. menus) and those for navigation to whole
new places (such as external links), then you might style the
regularly-used menus so that they don't distinguish between visited
and unvisited, but you should _not_ lose this distinction on links
that will be unfamiliar to users.

It's common (and reasonable) practice to hide the default link styling
on menu links, because there is "menu" styling applied on top of this
that's sufficient to indicate their function to the users. For
"links" though, where they still look like the classic 1991 HTML link,
then mess with the styling at your peril.
Jul 20 '05 #6

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