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View Poll Results: Do you use Underlined Links?

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  • Yes, they are necessary for usability

    18 48.65%
  • No, they cramp my style

    19 51.35%
  • How can I remove the underline from my links?

    0 0%
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  1. #1
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Underlined Links

    Do you use Underlined Links on your page?

    Have they outlived their usefulness or are they still necessary?
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  2. #2
    I am the night... bman's Avatar
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    i think that they should be used. most people identify underlined text as a link... and alot of people wont even recognise it as a link unless it is underlined...
    Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.
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    I hold with those who favor fire.

  3. #3
    Rusted & Weathered HumanClay's Avatar
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    I almost always use underlined links in my designs. Sometimes I turn off the underlines in navigation links (like on my site WebHelpZone) but only when it looks ok to do so and does not make it difficult for a user to tell if it is a link or not (and then when I do so, I always put the underline back on the hover).

    I *hate* sites that turn off underlines, and then make link colors either the same color as the normal text or a very very similar color to the text. For example, my college's Computer Science Dept.'s webpage does this:

    http://cscserver.cc.edu/dept/faculty.asp

    The faculty names are links, but a novice user might not figure that out without placing the mouse over the text. Also,

    http://cscserver.cc.edu/dept/curriculum.asp

    This page has several links to information on the curriculum. One can probably figure out these are links since it is the only text on the page, but would you know the text on the bottom of the site (Carroll College Computer Science Department | and | 2001 Carroll College) are also links?

    This is why I usually prefer to use underlines.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast vSector's Avatar
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    I find that if you dont use underline on TEXT links its the most frustrating thing!

    I would suggest always use them.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict superbird's Avatar
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    I can usually remove them without it affecting usability, and in fact I remove them in my browser settings. However there are definitely sites that do it badly, this being one of them. (although it's one of my favourite sites)
    ...KartLink...

  6. #6
    Bimbo With A Brain! silver trophy Saz's Avatar
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    Personally, I have my browser set to never underline links, but when designing, I keep the underline there and usually pick a colour within the site's colour scheme that contrasts with the text, so the links stand out. I kept the links the same colour as the text on the services page of my Postfive Publishing site, as using a different colour there just didn't look right, but I set the text to bold which, coupled with the layout and the underlining, make it obvious they are actually links and not plain text.

    I'm not sure that underlining in all cases is necessary though. If you use plain text links in a navigation bar, then to me, it's obvious that they're links whether they're underlined or not.
    Saz: Naturally Blonde, Naturally Dizzy!
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    If I don't use underlined links, I make sure that links are denoted in such a way as that they are obviously links.
    Westmich
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  8. #8
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    I seldom use underlined links anymore, it just doesn't seem to fit into the whole picture. But I choose a color that's very contrasting, or bold the linked text.
    http://winnielim.com- Portfolio site

  9. #9
    I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack! Fluffykins's Avatar
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    I'm in the same situation as many. Where links are part of a menu and it's obvious that they are links I'm happy removing the underline. Where they're part of a paragraph of text I often to prefer to leave the underlines on so it's obvious that the text is a link. Alternatively I make the text a different colour so it stands out.

    I think, as long as it's obvious they're links and not normal text you should be ok.

    Ady
    v-technologies - Freelance Goodness.

  10. #10
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    I think an important thing to remember is that internet usership growing fast. So a lot of people on the web have very little experience with surfing. These folks need to have the way lit so to speak.

    Brad Sacks
    www.middlepeak.com

  11. #11
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    I voted for the needed for usability option since I believe many less literate computer users recognize links as being underlined and it might seem confusing if they aren't. Using CSS, I have the main content part of my site have the links underlined and the menu bars and whatnot not underlined.

  12. #12
    Back in Action Winged Spider's Avatar
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    I keep my links underline free, unless the user mouses over them.

    That way at least people that don't know its a link can get some confidence that it is.

    I feel underlined links are just a part of the web and unless you at least underline them on hover, then users will be confused as to what to do.

    Most people are smart enough to know when you get that little hand on some text then its a link. But you have to account for your grandmother too, and that old guy down the street who always drives on the wrong side of the road. :-)


  13. #13
    ComDude CryingWolf's Avatar
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    You know this really comes down to who your target audience is... Sites geared toward more internet literate people you can probably get away with being "different" on how your links are displayed. A site geared toward say newbies, maybe you should follow the norm as you may find these people becoming a little confused on your site and leaving.

    My vote would have been for depends on the site. But that wasn't an option
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  14. #14
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    I belive that what useit.com says is true - links should be underlined and blue for the optimum usability. I usually don't specify anything for links and leave it up to the browser default (since my pages usually have a white background I hope that the don't have white links set! =)

  15. #15
    ComDude CryingWolf's Avatar
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    Originally posted by prowsej
    I belive that what useit.com says is true - links should be underlined and blue for the optimum usability. I usually don't specify anything for links and leave it up to the browser default (since my pages usually have a white background I hope that the don't have white links set! =)
    The problem is what if you want to say design a site with say a blue background??? I think even newbies to the net can get that underline and handpointer means link. If my mom can get it then it is newbie friendly

    Anyway I think if you hold the color then you limit your options on colors for your site. I think that it has been possible to change the color of links for so long that really it may not mess anyone up. Since both the sites I am currently playing with have black backgrounds keeping the dark blue link wouldn't work. You would have problems seeing it.

    As for the underline that may be a different story. I think more newbies may actually key on the fact that the pointer changes to a finger/hand and that means link.

    With the advent of mouseover graphics etc. I again think that this is so common that even net newbies have learned right away what a link is.
    body { background:#000000; color:#000000 }
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast welded's Avatar
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    i believe it all depends on the scheme of the web site. i prefer to have no underlined links, but sometimes it just doesn't work. for example, i was working on a project where the only colours i was using were black, white, and shades of grey. the text was white, and i didn't like the look of coloured and bolded links so i just kept them bold, but added an underline. in most situations it's simply a matter of making them stand out, such as bolding them, and/or changing the colour. the only reason they were underlined in the first place was because there was no way to change the colour originally, correct?

    really, it's a simple design consideration, and if a link isn't obvious, the designer is bad.
    it's amazing what velocity can do
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  17. #17
    Skills to Pay the Bills Sparkie's Avatar
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    I would say it depends on the site and the target audience. If you are building a website for say, a computer store or a webmaster site, then your audience will most likely be more web-saavy than if you were building a site for model airplanes.

    Also I never underline plain text. When I see sites that do, I instinctively want to click on the text Italics or bold is much better.
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  18. #18
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    Sparkie's right - the internet has eliminated my use of unerline in all writing media.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    I do not underline my links (not usually, at least), but to make up for it, I usually have them bold by default. I think this helps with emphasis while not giving away style.

  20. #20
    Back in Action Winged Spider's Avatar
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    Whenever I don't decide to underline on hover or just plain old underline my links, I always put something around them like Click here to see "blank" and link the whole entire sentance.

    That has recently worked out for me on this e-commerce site I work on. We only recieve one "can't find something" email a month or two now instead of once every few days.


  21. #21
    Victory shall be mine tubedogg's Avatar
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    Seems it's about evenly split between yes and no.

    Slightly OT, personally I can't stand sites/people that are all "your links have to be blue and underlined" and all that other crap. Part of the whole idea of the web is non-conformity - if it wasn't, all of our pages with be black text with no graphics (except those outlined in blue that are links - but don't use images as links, use text) and blue links - and I really don't get the point of making everything look the same. I'm gonna try and dig up a thing I came across a while back about this. If we all followed the rules on this page I'm gonna try and find, we wouldn't need SPF cause everything'd look the same.
    Kevin

  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast Fringey's Avatar
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    I don't know about the being all about non-comformity, but I agree that the whole idea of text being blue and underlined is WAY outdated - especially the blue part. There hav been SO many advances in the way people design for the web and the different ways you can display your information and set up your navigation that having plain blue text links for evrything is just silly inless it actually fits your site. I always alwayshave my links tie in with my design.

    Usually i don't have underlines. I like to fiddle wih different text effects and line-heights and hover effects so there's that and also i don't like the underline because i feel that it makes the text look cramped. I only have underlines when the link color is pretty close to the text color.
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  23. #23
    Tenacious T Tyhe's Avatar
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    Heya,

    I hate the underlines (although not on SitePoint.. they are pretty nice, and I am serious...) ... love to 'hover' myself...
    As long as all links are ONE color, and no other text uses that color, people understand.

    Greetz.
    That's all folks...

  24. #24
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    The effect of hovering is great! I love that too.

    But when it comes to usability, both won't matter much. apart from underlining of links, colours play an important role too.

    if you don't underline links, choose a mataching colour that stands out.

    it all depends on your design. for example, take a look at the 5 images at the top of the page. 'Profile' 'Register' 'Members' etc.

    If you didn't have the text as part of the images, on't you think it looks horrible underlined?
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
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  25. #25
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    Underlining the link is an essential part of web design. Users have been accustomed to seeing links with underlines. When you remove them and don't provide some sort of contrast, some will not know they are links.

    One thing to be very careful of, and that is taking the underline away and keeping the link text the same color as your regular text. There are rumors that Google has banned some sites for using this technique as it is construed as spam. Even if its done as part of the design element, there are things you may do that could cause problems with the SE's.

    Underlining links is very important for usability. Sure, most of us veterans know what may and may not be a link. But, there are many out there who are not familiar with design techniques and may possibly miss the links if they are not clearly identified. Underlining them is the clearest identification that I know of!


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