Monday, May 31, 2010

Links In The Title Cause Titles That Change Colour

One commonly used convention, in website links, uses hyperlinks that change colour when followed.

Look at the title of this post, Links In The Title Cause Titles That Change Colour. What colour is the title? Now, click on the title, and observe the colour. Next, look at the bottom of this post, and the Topics - "Fonts and Colors, Links, Settings, Settings - Formatting".

What you're seeing, in this exercise, are unvisited (called generally "links") and visited ("visited links") links. In this blog, unvisited links are blue, and visited links are purple.

The concept of colour changes for visited links has been with us since hypertext was invented.

Websites like this one, that use visited links with colour changes, indicate to you when you view text containing links that you have already followed. Unvisited links vs visited links become relevant here, because this blog, like many Blogger blogs, hosts the permalink to the posts in the post titles.

If you click on a link to this post, any link to this post changes colour, in your browser - where that link is hosted on any website that supports visited links. If you clicked on a direct link to this post to get here, the title Links In The Title Cause Titles That Change Colour should be purple. If you are viewing this blog having followed a link to the main page "The Real Blogger Status", or using a Topics link such as "Links", you're possibly seeing a few post titles in blue.

With some blogs, you will see blog titles that change colour. Since this blog uses a custom graphic title, and a custom menu bar that contains a "Home" link, the title is not text, and does not change colour. Many blogs that use plain text titles and support visited links will exhibit the same colour change.

Also, with some blogs, both the blog title and posts titles may contain "smart links". With some blogs, you will have 3 relevant colour settings - links, visited links, and titles.

Note that I said, above
If you click on a link to this post, any link to this post changes colour, in your browser
This colour change is retained in the browser history settings. If you indiscriminately clear cache and cookies, you may also clear browsing history. If you clear browsing history, all links will change to unvisited colour. Note also that "visited links" have an expiry period, so you are encouraged to revisit links after the expiry period passes.

If you wish to change the colours of the links in your blog, and the blog has a standard layout or designer template, you use the Template Designer wizard. The Advanced - Links menu, in most templates, provides 3 options - "Link Color", "Visited Color", and "Hover Color".

The colour change will be a challenge when designing many blogs that use Designer templates, and use the complex colour palettes and patterned backgrounds. Using "links" vs "visited links" will necessitate careful choice of three colours - links, text, and visited links - that are simultaneously
  • Are readable, against the background.
  • Noticeable, but not glaringly so.
  • Visibly different from each other.
My final choice of "blue" vs "purple" colours for the links here, when I setup a Designer template for this blog, was not a 5 minute task. And even so, not all readers appreciate the colours used.

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2 comments:

*mb said...

my visited link do not expire ~ they stay visited no matter how many times I visit my website

and I've given up expecting Template Designer to set the link; visted link; hover colors to work with the colors I choose

Chuck said...

If your visited links do not behave predictably, we need to diagnose the problem, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.