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Accessibility and Usability Forum

Visited Link Color Change
is it me?

 12:38 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I wonder why I don't see this function used on more websites thesedays? It's frustrating. I don't have the greatest memory, but for instance scanning through a list of related page subjects on a site that does not have this function drives me nuts. Forums too. I often leave and find one that does offer it. There's plenty of good stuff on the web to find.

Anybody else?



 2:45 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I also like to see what I clicked before. When building our sites we change colour of visited links but I noticed designers are not very happy about it. Maybe no one cares about usability?


 4:21 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

That's it...the clueless designers. It doesn't look perty.


 5:01 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've followed many discussions on this subject. I too find the "visited" state to be of benefit in some instances. For the most part, the "visited" state has become meaningless for many.


I've always provided a "visited" state using CSS. I do it in primary content only. I typically will not touch primary navigational elements. Those will keep the same LV and use different HA to accentuate the link when the cursor is passed over it or an action is made by the user.

3.9 Generated content techniques

If you really want to get serious about providing indication on whether a link has been visited or not, you might do something like this...

The phrase "Visited link:" is inserted before every visited link:

A:link { color: red } /* Unvisited links */
A:visited { color: green } /* Visited links */
A:visited:before { content: "Visited link: " }

There are some pretty nifty CSS strategies that can be employed in the "visited" visual. ;)


 5:14 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Those of us that know what a visited link is and what it should do are probably the only ones really annoyed by it (designers, developers, HTML dabblers . . . ) Most "average people" I watch ask, "why did that change color?" (if they even notice) and rarely make the connection.

Just the same, it's the way it's supposed to be done, so I do it.


 10:47 am on Jan 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know from user studies that I have done with a corporate intranet that most users expect links to look like the "out of the box" default and get confused when designers play about with them too much.

On my own sites I leave them to default to the settings in the users' browsers. That way I don't confuse anybody who likes them like that, and anybody who really hates the default will probably take the trouble to learn how to change the settings.


 5:43 pm on Jan 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Visited links come into their own for Accessibility purposes. For users with learning, developmental or cognitive impairments, the visited link colour acts as a indicator to them that they have already visited the link.

Many, many sites suppress the visited link state these days, but from an accessibility point of view that's not necessarily the best thing to do.

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