W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > wai-eo-editors@w3.org > April 2011

Re: Feedback on your website's link colors (yes, I'm from the US)

From: Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 11:29:20 -0500
Message-ID: <4DADB860.5000108@w3.org>
To: Kate Finn <kfinn@mac.com>
CC: wai-eo-editors@w3.org
  Hello Kate,

Thanks for taking the time to e-mail.

Indeed underlined text is the primary way that links are distinguished throughout the W3C website and the WAI sub-site. While this might not be optimum in isolation, we stuck with it because it is the default on the Web. Most of the links on the WAI site are underlined, with the exception of links in the navigation where other visual clues indicate links and lots of underlined text would decrease readability.

One of the reasons we chose a gentler shade of blue for the WAI site is that for some people the default bright blue is disrupting and decreases readability, especially when links are within paragraphs. Indicating links is one of those design aspects for which people have different requirements and preferences.

It's great that you know how to use style sheets to make web pages more readable to you! You should be able to change the link color and weight (bold) in your stylesheet as well. That way the links in the WAI site and other websites will be just how you like them. :)


Shawn Lawton Henry
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
e-mail: shawn@w3.org
phone: +1.617.395.7664
about: http://www.w3.org/People/Shawn/

On 4/15/2011 10:27 AM, Kate Finn wrote:
> Hello:
> Although I first stumbled across the w3.org <http://w3.org> website a number of months ago, in the past 2 weeks I have had reason to return to it and study it in depth.  I don't know if this is the right place to send this feedback, but here goes:  the color of unvisited text links is nearly indistinguishable from the unlinked black text.  At first I thought this might be me, suffering from reduced color sensitivity at the age of 54, but I've shown it to several younger people, including my teenage daughters, and they also thought it was difficult to find the links in the text.  The links that happen to be in *bold-face font* are a bit more visible, but even so, they don't jump off the page (as on http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Overview.html).
> This isn't the case throughout the site; for example, http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-wai-age-literature-20080514/, a brighter blue is used for links.
> I do use a stylesheet that hides underlining of links, to increase the readability of heavily-linked pages.  I don't know if your webpage design guidelines rely on underlining to increase the visibility of links?
> Anyway, I love the work your organization is doing, and I appreciate that all the documents are open to the public.  Thank you.
> Regards,
> Kate Finn
Received on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 16:29:30 UTC

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