Re: Visual Indicators

While I cannot share proprietary research, I can confirm that I have seen countless examples where text alone – even when a different color of sufficient contrast – is not a sufficient affordance of action. Even navigation links that assert a ‘pattern affordance’ still fail to be recognized or understood.

I could live with a very broad scope.

Additionally, the most likely context of that example Microsoft forum comment is that the underline spanned multiple words and / or lines and was not styled. There are at least 4 CSS properties for styling an underline, including the ability to skip ink (break on descenders) – which is the primary reason I have seen cited for readability issues.

Charles Hall // Senior UX Architect
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From: Andrew Kirkpatrick <>
Date: Monday, May 11, 2020 at 3:36 PM
To: Alastair Campbell <>, WCAG <>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: Visual Indicators
Resent-From: <>
Resent-Date: Monday, May 11, 2020 at 3:35 PM

> The latest text doesn’t include the ‘process’ aspect, so evaluating all text-links in this exercise is a good thing…

And this is where I think that we get into difficult territory. Unless we have clear data that shows that users need all links to be handled in certain ways and that a 3:1 contrast ratio doesn’t satisfy user needs, this winds up being a very broad scope and harder to justify.

In Chrome and Edge there are extensions that allow people to have underlines added to links, Firefox allows users to set links to be underlined with a browser setting, and Safari allows user stylesheets. We also know there are people that don’t link underlined links (e.g.,<>). This seems like we are ignoring the capabilities of the browsers.


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Received on Monday, 11 May 2020 20:30:11 UTC