Maria Kuhn: April 8, 2017

Think Usability

Creating a unique website is great, however, not when it comes to usability. It's best to do what everyone else is doing. Why? When people visit a new website, they look for things to be in the same places they found them on most other websites. They tap into their experience to make sense of this new content. This is known as "usage patterns." People expect certain things to be the same, such as link colors, the location of the website’s logo, the location and behavior of tabbed navigation, etc. Users appreciate when things are familiar.

What Color Should Links Be?

text link There is no right or wrong color for links. The first consideration should be contrast; links should be dark enough or light enough to contrast with the background color. Secondly, they should stand out from the regular text. So, if your regular text is black, your links should not also be black.

Research shows that if usability is your priority, sticking to blue for links is best. The browser’s default link color is blue, so people expect it. You may opt to make links a different color, but it may affect the speed with which users find them.

If you decide to make links blue, then make sure no other text (including headings) is blue, because users will expect it to be a link too. Also, don’t underline text that isn’t linked because users expect underlined text to be a link.

Remember to keep in mind users with poor sight. Red won’t stand out to someone who is color blind, so consider underlining or bolding links, in addition to changing the color.