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Do links need to be underlined?

Jared Spool has brought up the good old question about whether links need to be underlined.

He doubts that users are less likely to find what they are looking for at sites where links aren't underlined. People will quickly learn how to spot non-standard links by waving their mouse around to see where the browser gives them "the finger."

But users are trained to click on underlined text. Eyetracking studies show that people dart from underlined text to underlined text in their initial exploration of a page.

If sites have some links underlined and others not, people get confused. Jared concludes:

"We think the visual design element of the underline is not required, but it is cruel to make users work extra hard because you can't decide."

Links:

  • Do Links Need Underlines? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - July 06, 2006

See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Links (19) 

 

COMMENTS

While this is clear that eye tracking tools show that a user responds to the underline however, is there any proof or evidence that not underlining links actually results in less click thru\'s?

Not underlining a link is far more attractive from a display perspective but is it at the detriment of clicks?

Whitsey | September 16, 2009

 

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