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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot LadyLily's Avatar
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    The Importance of telling Visitors where they are.

    Well, I've always heard you must have a trail or something of the sort to tell your users where they are and where they have been. I've kind of eliminated this from my site, or am trying to. Taken away the visited font link with the same color as a regular, not visited, link. And with the menu I have (DHTML), I can't really tell visitors where they have been.

    Is this a very big no no?
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    Personally, at least on my sites, I abhor ugly link colors (frankly I don't care to know where I've been -- I'll know if I've been there or not). But I almost always use breadcrumbs to do this in at least a small capacity. I know it's limited to where the user actually is on a site, but (in my opinion), it's better than links that are discolored.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot pnathan's Avatar
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    I think it is vital to have a visted link colour. If you have a number of text links on one page and the user wants to visit them all, it lets the user know which one he has visted and which are yet to be visited.

    I cannot stress how important it is to have visted link colour!

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    It does present a usability issue... I have looked at your site and this is what I see...

    1) You do not have clearly defined page names (or titles)... every page should clearly have a title to let the user know where they are. If they clicked the wrong link how would they know? What if they came from a search engine or other site?

    2) "Breadcrumbs" are a great resouce for larger sites (see www.download.com)you'll routinely see lines such as "CNET : Downloads : PC : Web Authoring" letting the user know where they are. It's very easy to find your way around brick and mortar stores because of a few things... signs, physical space and a sense of direction and scale. You can see how big the store is, use landmarks to navigate, look at signs and isles, etc. On the Internet it's much more difficult. It's very easy to get lost deep within a site and not know exactly where you are... or how to get out... or how to get back should you want to revisit.

    The greatest rule I've ever heard about web design and usability was "Don't make me think!" by Steve Krug's book. If you haven't read it PLEASE check it out! It's a wonderful book and has helped countless number of designers... www.stevekrug.com

    There's also a great review on SitePoint about it... check it out here.

    And if you decide to buy it, please buy it from his site... as he gets more of a commission if you click the affiliate link to Amazon. He deserves it!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot Neon's Avatar
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    I think it depends on what cond of links it is.

    If its links on a board like this, I would say that its important. Because if you have a difrent color on your visited links you can se when the pages are updated or someone have posted on your topic

    If its a small site with few links, its not that important
    Art4eye <-- a great resorce for webdesigners

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  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot sonique's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the site:
    If you are at info site, there should be a colored visited tag. That way you can go back later and follow the "trail" back to the same information if you need it.

    if it's a product site and your trying to sell something. You shouldn't need them, because you want to accidently go back to the same pages to make sure they "seeing" your product information.

    personal sites?
    yes/no depends on how it affects your website.

    maybe i'm right, maybe i'm wrong...
    does anyone agree?
    jmulder[THE MENTOR]'s nice guy online!
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot LadyLily's Avatar
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    Hmm...I just started to take off the visitd link colors becuase they clashed, and that's always bad. Colors can be good and create agoodfirst impression for a site. Breadcrumbs sound good but what about long lists of links where you can't use the breadcrumbs that easily? It' also just annoys me. Why can't your average visitor be as smart as us?
    Well, then again, I kind of elimnated most of my fears by adding links to the next article in the series. Then you really don't know where you have been becuase, essientally, you keep going. Perhaps I should ask my viewers with a poll. They always kow the right answer, but I wonder if they'd care.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot SlaveToTheMan's Avatar
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    Since your site is about video games, then I would say do what you want. Your users are going to be web savy just like you. Do you really care if the old guy from Idaho can figure out where to go on your site? He probably got there by mistake anyway.

    If you ever design a business site, then by all means read "Don't Make Me Think" and then think about it! My general rule is make your site easy to use unless it is an online interactive gallery.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    It's all about style .VS. substance. A site looks better if most of the links look the same...it looks kind of ugly and haphazard if links are one of two different colors all over (not counting links that are different colors on navbars and such).

    Personally, I don't use links that are colored differently if they have been visited, but providing a basic "breadcrumb" trail around the site can help to offset any navigation problems that stem from that. It's a tough choice at times, though.

  10. #10
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. Based on your advice, I've decided to use visited link colours on my article links (in the archives), enabling users to see which articles they have already read.

    The small 'light blue' links throughout my site do not change. Only the darker blue ones that lead to articles, news items etc.

    [edit]
    I think my new visited link colours look quite appealing... I wonder... Maybe they are even tempting enough for Aes (Colin) to change his mind
    Last edited by mmj; Sep 19, 2001 at 14:02.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  11. #11
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LadyLily
    Why can't your average visitor be as smart as us?
    Also, the average visitor might not arrive first at your front page, so when this happens it is not a question of being 'smart'. A visitor should have an idea about whereabouts in a site she or he is.

    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot LadyLily's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mmj


    Also, the average visitor might not arrive first at your front page, so when this happens it is not a question of being 'smart'. A visitor should have an idea about whereabouts in a site she or he is.

    Hmm...good point, forgot about that problem.

    Yeah, I might as well go with what I want, but when I do do a perfessional site (way, way in the future), I'll probably have visited link colors.

    Perhaps I'll do a breadcrumb trail if I can spare the room on the screen. Another problem: screen space is really tight, so you need to have all the good stuff up at the top. Breadcrumbs take up a line of space, and maybe more. Ah, well, my problem too.

    Thanks for the input, I'll definatly keep all this into mind, including the book.
    -LadyLily
    You know the Legend of Zelda Series?
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict zoordaan's Avatar
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    I use beadcrumbs and a visited link color on my personal site. When I came up with the color scheme for the site, I thought about two colors that I could live with for links and used that. I don't think breadcrumbs are absolutely necessary if your site isn't large, but once you start getting a good number of pages, then you should think about adding them, and/or a search function so people can find info easily.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict cyberprince's Avatar
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    These rules were drawn up by usability experts...and they have a point. Lessening the chances of disorientation can lead to hassle free suring for all your visitors.

    Here is a suggestion if sticking to regular hyperlink colors bother you.

    Try using trails "breadcrumbs"...as exemplified from the navigational menu above this page.(also below)

    Home / Build your Site / Web Page Design / The Importance of telling Visitors where they are

    This can tell the visitor where he is at the moment and at the same time where he has been and how far he is down the line.

    The decision is really up to you. If you think that it is not worth the sacrifice then don't. Personally I don't thik your users will mind. In the end they are the bottom line...and satisfying their needs should precede everything else.


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