On link styles and colours…

This seems almost totally designed to piss of usability people who I respect enormously, but what the hey – it’s my site, right? So a few of you will have noticed that when I relaunced a few days ago all the links were blue. Then they all went yellow. Now – who the hell knows what colour they’ll be. Story in a nutshell – I designed it originally with yellow highlights / links, but got lots of negative comments about them. A friend suggested the blue. I put it up with the blue. I got a fair few positive comments and another block of negative comments. I decided it looked too cold. I went back to the yellow. More negative comments. You see how this is going?

My brilliant solution? Well I don’t have one quite yet, to be honest. I’m still fiddling with elements of the site on a daily basis, dragging some things to the front, hiding other things and fixing still others (still got to fix comment error and search templates, and then looking into line-spacing). One move I might make is to change the link formatting in certain circumstances so that it’s not all precisely the same – perhaps having a stronger (or more subdued) style for the top navigation versus links inline in the posts. Who knows! But in the meantime, I’ve decided to throw figs to the wind and declare everyone right. So for a few days at least, every time a page is rebuilt it will have a random link colour assigned to it. At the moment there are five colour schemes. There may be more by the end of the day. Over time, hopefully I can come to some conclusion about which one(s) work best. Enjoy the rainbow!

23 replies on “On link styles and colours…”

I was toying with varying link styling a while ago, trying to get my links to look different to the rest (the current version of my blog doesn’t include my delicious links inline though).
Didn’t really work out, but I wanted to be able to zoom out for a “bird’s eye view” and see different speckled areas. Needs more sources of information for there to be any point in that.
I like the ever-changing colours, that’s nice!

Of course, all the best weblogs have link colours which change depending on the weather 😉 Seriously though, the random colours are good. I’m especially liking the goldy colour that’s on this page at the moment…

I like this simplicity and the use of multiple colors in this instance. Let your mind laugh and go wild… it’s your playground.

I love the new layout. The highlighting is cool, it doesn’t make the page any harder to read than any other way of denoting links, including underlining or bolding. If you want your links to look different to the rest of the text, then, I hate to break this to you, they have to look different to the rest of the text. Simple as that.
The last layout was great, but it’s important to update and mix things up a bit. This site is one of the easiest to read out of all the sites I’ve ever seen, and it’s unique and stylish as well. What more could you want?
Do what you want with your own site, and what you think looks good. Other people can style their own sites how they want.
PS. I like the yellow highlighting. It’s iconic.

No, this really works! It’s like, you’ve got a whole pot full of highlighter pens rather than just one. And you’re not sure which to use, so you use the lot. I like the orange.
If you want to go all iMac, you should market them as “flavors” instead of colours…

Perhaps you could do it like the PSP, where the background colour changes according to the month. I’ve seen April is a fetching shade of pink and December is a sober blue… not sure what the other colours are, but it’s a nice idea.

I’m still not sure what I think of the new design, as a whole, but I do like the idea of rotating colours–it’s just one of those little things that adds a bit of character to a site.

Can I be a moaning ninnie? Oh, good.
Don’t like highlightning links, no matter what colour they are, as they draw too much attention to them, especially in a link heavy environment as a weblog.
Being an old fogey, i’d rather not see people playing with links; let them use the old red/blue underlining scheme.

You can use CSS selectors to vary link styles, as .content a:link, .comments a:link (also :visited :hover :active, maybe even :focus). It would be interesting to modify a script used to randomize images to randomize CSS colour values. You could then turn around and write an article for Zeldman about it.

Soon your site can be just like Angermann2‘s!

I agree that the highlighting is the issue, not the colour. For me, the effect when reading is as if RANDOM words were capitalised for no READILY apparent reason. It MAKES reading comprehension ODDLY jerky.

Partly that’s habit of course – we have all learned to discount underlining as an indicator of emphasis (and we have all stopped using typewriters, which encouraged that association). So if lots of people pick this up, it will be less of an issue – precisely because it would thereby become less distinctive.

If that happens, though, something important will have been lost: the thing which highlighting is best for is, well, highlighting. If we all learn to tune it out as we do for underlining, a useful distinction would be lost.

Come to think of it, I must agree with marek. Having the links highlighted tends to make them a bit too “standoutish.” As much as I like the fact that it adds a bit of colour to the site, it is somewhat distracting. Old fashioned underlining might work best, though you could probably leave the links at the top of the index page highlighted, if you wanted.

Tom, I love the redesign. I’m glad someone has reclaimed the word “personal” in the design of their site. I think the web community has lost its own personality. I’m glad someone has shown their own personality in their design.

Whoa, random sounds like a wonderful idea …considering I landed on a page that highlighted links in the blue that Mac OS X uses to highlight selected text. Try to search for some text on a page like that.

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