Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

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Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby forfear on Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:56 am

I always thought that leaving hyperlinks as underlined was THE web usability standard to distinguish hyperlinks from normal text. But it looks like removing the underlines in hyperlinks is THE trendy thing to do. Even this forum has no underlines. Even the New York Times has removed underlines from links. Look at the new Vista too, no underlines...
Tis a changing world,.... what do you do for your projects? :?
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby RamonS on Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:16 am

That really depends on the audience and how much time I have on my hands. Often the audience doesn't care, but sometimes they don't consider something not underlined to be a hyperlink and also consider everything that is underlined as a hyperlink. So if underlines are just used for text emphasis reports come in about broken links.
In most cases I just leave it at the default. If someone wants it this way or that way, they can tell their browser to override the styles in the CSS. I rather concentrate on content than try hard to be hip. Just look at popular sites like Craigslist, all that Web 2.0 stuff just didn't make it in there and I think nobody misses it.
When the new trend is to make background and font color to be the same, then I start worrying.
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby KevinDAmery on Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:43 am

Designers don't like underlines because it spoils the look of the page. That doesn't mean that audiences understand it better, just that it's more visually pleasing.

I'm leaving them in until someone who controls my pay cheque makes a really *really* big stink over it....
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby SteveS on Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:49 pm

KevinDAmery wrote:...I'm leaving them in until someone who controls my pay cheque makes a really *really* big stink over it....


I couldn't agree more - it's a usability thing for me.
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby LTinker68 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:00 pm

I tend not to use underlines if the hyperlink is obvious or indicated in another manner. For instance, a list of news/press releases with or without a bullet, arrow, or other image for the bullet. If they're all grouped together and under a category heading like "News" or "Press Releases" then I think it's intuitive that they're hyperlinks. (And yes, I'm using general web design as an example; I don't generally have news or press releases in online help.)

I tend to use underlines for hyperlinks in regular, free-flow blocks of text, but I do have it set up so that once you've visited where the link takes you, then the link returns to the original color instead of a different color to designate visited links. The default is to have unvisited links be blue and visited links be purple and the text turn red when you hover over it. That can be too many colors on a site, so my visited/unvisited links are the same color.

BTW, if you're going to go with underlines for hyperlinks, then I recommend you do a different color if you have the glossary set up to have hyperlinks in your regular topic text. I personally find it annoying to see two hyperlinks with the same color and one goes to a new topic and the other one pops up a definition. I tend to open new topics in a new tab so that I don't lose my place in the original topic, and opening a popup in another tab doesn't work or causes errors. So I recommend one color for "go to a new topic" hyperlinks and another color for glossary definitions and/or popups. (Personally, I don't have the glossary terms hyperlinked in the topics -- that can end up with too many underlines in a topic, which makes it hard to read the topic, IMHO.)
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby ASTeC on Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:18 am

Hello,

Once I encountered a smart way to differentiate links that open in the main window from links that open in a pop-up window without leaving the main one. I have been using it ever since.

Links that open as a new topic in the main window, replacing the previous topic, are underlined as usual (and as already mentionned, the user can override easily this setting), while links that open in a pop-up window are also underlined but with a dashed line in the same color as usual links.

So all links are underlined "as usual" and the user is not faced with a new way of reading his document but, at the same time, he can quite easily distinguish between a link that will open a new topic or that will simply open a pop-up without leaving his topic.

I do not require another color and neither do I really need to explain it (thought it is done in my documentation introduction :) )
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby i-tietz on Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:41 am

Clearly, that is a matter of priority and/or target group. I think we should meet their expectations and their standards: If the product is used by younger people, e.g. a music mixing software you should have a look at the more "hip" websites. If you produce a software for the visually impaired you better follow their habits and don't change standards ...

mho:
For links that are well marked by sth. else like
- being part of a list with links only (like the different levels of a menu on a website or in a webhelp) or
- links in a dropdown list box or
- a Flare dropdown link
I don't think underlining is necessary - I agree with Lisa.
But it's pretty urgent to emphasize links in a visible way in continuous text e.g. for popups. It has become even more urgent with IE 7 because its standard setting includes the feature "ClearType", that smoothes out uneven lines of letters by using coloured pixels ... that makes links less visible that are marked by a different colour only ...
Last edited by i-tietz on Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby forfear on Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:09 am

This non-underlined links is all over Vista, The Nooo York Times, even in Madcapsoftware's website.

Its quite the thing. And i agree though on some statements made earlier that, glossary links and standard links and popup links should at least be differentiated a bit.
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby Ineffable on Thu May 22, 2008 2:38 pm

Should underlined links be used on a WebHelp system for bicycle riders?

I don't see blind people up in arms because local area trails aren't marked with Braille Botts Dots.

In fact, WebHelp systems for bicycles (and cars, skateboards, wakeboards, etc.) should have a MAXIMUM font size, say 8pt. If you can't read it you shouldn't be performing the activity the WebHelp manual was made for!
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Re: Aren't underlined hyperlinks THE web style usability std

Postby KevinDAmery on Fri May 23, 2008 5:40 am

Ineffable wrote:Should underlined links be used on a WebHelp system for bicycle riders?

I don't see blind people up in arms because local area trails aren't marked with Braille Botts Dots.

In fact, WebHelp systems for bicycles (and cars, skateboards, wakeboards, etc.) should have a MAXIMUM font size, say 8pt. If you can't read it you shouldn't be performing the activity the WebHelp manual was made for!


I really don't anticipate that being much of a problem until Heads Up Displays in biking visors become common place and bikes come with built-in Bluetooth mice in the hand grips so you can navigate the help system while descending a 10 degree slope :mrgreen:
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