Red Links on Webpages – Avoid them?

I was catching up on Firefox 3 (which is an awesome browser by the way) today when I stumbled across a blog post about smooth image scaling in Firefox 3. The blog post actually flagged something up to me that was really interesting.

The web page in question styles all of its hyperlinks in red text without underlines:


As I read through the article, I noticed that I had a certain reluctance about following any of the hyperlinks referenced in the article. I couldn’t work out why but I realised it was due to Wikipedia which uses the same styling for it’s non-existent articles:


I noticed that I purposely avoided red hyperlinks on Wikipedia because it never led to any useful information. And it was slightly strange that the same behaviour then extended to a totally different web page which I had never visited before.

Of course, it’s common knowledge amongst web designers that people expect hyperlinks to be blue and visited hyperlinks to either be purple or a more saturated blue, but I’ve never heard of any expectations regarding red links.

It’d be interesting to know whether any of my readers had the same feeling about the links on this page or whether it’s because I spend too much time on Wikipedia.

Another interesting experience recently… one of the posters at school used red wavy underlines for all the titles. Again, it was one of those things which just annoys you and you can’t work out why. Eventually I figured it was because Microsoft Word would highlight incorrect spellings with a red wavy underline and that I’d developed some kind of “learned behaviour” in Word to correct typos and remove the red wavy underlines as soon as they appear.

One thought on “Red Links on Webpages – Avoid them?

  1. Also red is generally used for stop, or not working, while green is used for go and blue is used as a symbol of trust, i.e. trust this information.

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