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Sunday, August 07, 2005
  online tips- Presenting Net links in a user-friendly way
It seems so simple: when your Web page background is purply-cream and your menu bar is a darker version if this, it seems reasonable to have dark purple links that turn purply-blue once they’ve been visited. Except, of course, this defies convention.

In the old days, when a Web pages were fewer, every new Web page created was news, and the Web designers evolved an unwritten code that unvisited links are blue and visited links are red.

Nowadays, this isn’t true anymore; there are hundreds of differently colored links. So, in theory, you can have dark purple links that turn purply-blue once they’ve been visited. But in practice, this confuses visitors and should therefore be avoided.

Links are so commonplace that most of us don’t really pay attention to them. But how you present links can seriously affect how user-friendly you Web site is.

If you are simply overhauling a personal site, it’s not a big deal. But for corporate sites, link choice and color can affect the bottom line in a big way. So if you are designing of overhauling you Web site, what should you be thinking of in terms of links?

As an interactive tool, the best way to present information online is to offer it in digestible chunks with short meaningful headings and descriptively labeled links leading to related information.

Links must be clearly identified. Traditionally, text links always appeared underlined. Because of this, most surfers will automatically click under-lined text online; experienced editors tend therefore to avoid the underline when working up online text.

Fortunately, bold and italics draw an equal amount of attention to important text and do not lead to confusion.

Good Web page design also means that if you have an image that doubles as a link, it should be identified clearly. It’s advisable to add a text description as well as a label with a link below. Plain instructions like “Click here for bigger graph” or “Click through to see more pictures of our product” tend to work best.

Although it can be confusing to have an image masking as a link, the exception to this ruling is the image company logo: company logos always lead to company homepage. It is good practice to have your company logo at the top left corner of each page – as a link to the index page.

Make sure that all the links within your site works correctly and lead to the pages they claim to. Misleading links will confuse and annoy visitors.

Links to pages that have not been seen by the user must be of one designated color (traditionally blue) while links to previously seen pages should be of another (traditionally red). It makes sense to have two different colors so that visitors can see at a glance what links they’ve followed up on which ones they haven’t.

Also, make sure that link colors follow the same schema on all of your Web pages. It is advisable to use blue and red hues in the standard manner, but if you want to go for green and yellow, or brown and orange, or whatever colors scheme have a go for it. The main aim is to be consistent.

If you are consistent in the way you present your pages, especially your links, even first-time visitors will quickly learn what to expect. They will feel comfortable exploring you pages and are more likely to come back for a further visit. And that’s the name of the game, isnt’t it.?

-mine is not good example-
 


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