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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
"Monica Granfield (Exchange)" <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 3 Mar 1999 08:17:48 -0800
"Monica Granfield (Exchange)" <[log in to unmask]>
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I agree with Steve in that color and mouse cursor
are often not enough of a visual clue for a user
to know where to go.

I guess this is where consistency in affordances was
actually helpful to the users. Now with the web there
are no real standards, so it becomes a hunt and
peck game for the user. This might be fun at
first, but eventually it becomes tiresome.

This also might be OK for an informational
site, but imagine what it would be like for
users of a productivity application on the web....

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Brown [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 1999 7:01 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: I: Re: Hypertext and Underlines - pros and pros

Hover color and the pointer changing to a hand are nice extra cues to
users.  However, when I go to a site I want to be able to visually inspect
the site to determine where the links are.  I don't want to be forced to
move the mouse in order to "discover" where the clickable areas are.  Color
doesn't help either.  Which color am I going to look for?  Once upon a time
it was a shade of blue, but I can't count on that anymore.  And, of course,
people with color deficiencies will have a problem if color is the only
means to distinguish links.

Relying on mouse movement raises another concern.  I use an IBM laptop with
the TrackPoint mouse.  It is a real pain to position that pointer.  I don't
want to move it any more than I have to.  So, I want to know where I'm
going before I start.   And what about smaller displays?  I have never used
a palm computer.  Is there a mouse to move on this display?

03/02/99 01:58:52 PM
Subject:  Re: Hypertext and Underlines - pros and pros

I've followed hypermedia since the mid-80s and some early research
considered underline issues.  One of the strongest arguments made back then
against underlining is that the underlines available on most systems cut
through the descenders (in letters like g, j, and y) and affected the
readability of the text.  One alternative proposed back then was to use a
gray bar below the hyperlinks.

Professional desktop publishers typically avoid the use of underlines
because there are better (i.e., more aesthetically pleasing) alternatives
available (bold, italic, and colored text) as well as the above mentioned
issue that the underline cuts through descenders.  If an underline is
(not very often), it should be created using graphical lines inserted below
the descenders.

Another argument in favor of not using underlines for hyperlinks is that it
helps resolve some of the abiguity between the use of graphics for text or
picture links (which don't use underlines to indicate hyperlinks) and the
hyperlinks created in HTML text.  This is one reason I prefer to turn off
underlining.  [Note: MSIE users CAN explicitly force links to ALWAYS use
either the "hover" style or underlines to indicate links (this feature can
be found under View|Internet Options...|Advanced).  The argument can be
that web designers are more concerned about novices who may never venture
into advanced options.]

I do not feel obligated to use underlines just because that was the only
available to indicate hyperlinks from the beginning.  Would I as a designer
have chosen to move from colors (or hover) to underlining, if underlining
had been introduced later other alternatives?  If the earliest use of
hyperlinks in graphial Web browsers had used only colored text to indicate
links, I don't think we'd be having this debate today.  If anything we'd be
arguing over the use of colors other than a default link color.

Keep in mind that we are in a transition stage still.  Hover will become a
standard CSS style on both browsers soon.  I think there is sufficient
visual clues available to design links the way that you want as long as you
are consistent.  The use of the hover style, colored text, and the pointer
hand (cursor) should be sufficient to indicate the existence of hyperlinks.

Just my thoughts,

Steven K. Bang
Consulting Engineer
AlphaBlox Corporation

-----Original Message-----
From: Jo Meder [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, March 01, 1999 2:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Hypertext and Underlines - pros and pros

Peter Szmyt <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> So, i'll try and start it off: (remember positives only)
> - visual cue to text that is a link
> - standard in the web world
> - less visual noise, (for those that have colour indicating a link and
> not colour-blind)
> - standard in the Windows Help world
> any others?

Why not do what you like best (as long as you do it with stylesheets),
since there's alway the option of the (colour-blind, deaf, ...) user
overriding your suggestions by supplying his/her own stylesheet?

I know this is theory, since current implementations of stylesheets
are mostly not up to standards, but if everybody keeps bowing to
random implementations of vendors with a large market share, what are
the standards worth anyway?

Best regards,