Same colour, different meanings

I visited a website earlier today where the colour of the hyperlinks was orange. The text was black, so it was easy to figure out the hyperlinks. But, there were also instances where the colour of certain text was in orange, but the text was not a hyperlink. Colour confusion.

This confusion of colour is not a new problem and you’ve probably seen it on some website as well. I can understand not wanting to use the standard blue for hyperlinks because you want your design to look a bit different or your just plain bored of blue. That’s fine.

All I’m asking as a user is for some sort of consistency. Using the same colour for clickable and non-clickable text is confusing, it’s distracting, it wastes my time, and makes me think about things that I’d rather not think about.

As Joel Spolsky writes in Consistency and Other Hobgoblins:

…”A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Good UI designers use consistency intelligently, and, though it may not show off their creativity as well, in the long run it makes users happier.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for making users happy.

Extra Credit: While this isn’t the site I mentioned earlier today, Citibank’s India website is equally confusing. Go to the site and identify the hyperlinks first without using your mouse and then with your mouse. See?

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2 thoughts on “Same colour, different meanings

  1. Hmmm.. Fortunately, Citibank doesn’t change their web layout too very often, which means, once you get used to their layout, there’s no changes.. That is, till someone there comes with the brilliant idea of “enhancing” user experience. :-)

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