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Thread: Google removes underlines. What do you think?

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From: Angela French
Date: Thu, Mar 13 2014 5:11PM
Subject: Google removes underlines. What do you think?
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Wondering what you all think? While it may not matter to screen readers it may matter to a lot of other folks.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/13/5503894/google-removes-underlined-links-site-redesign

Angela French
Internet Specialist
State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
360-704-4316
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
www.checkoutacollege.com<;http://www.checkoutacollege.com>;
www.sbctc.edu<;http://www.sbctc.edu>;

From: Shuttlesworth, Rachel
Date: Thu, Mar 13 2014 6:18PM
Subject: Re: Google removes underlines. What do you think?
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When we launched Blackboard Learn at our university, the system theme we chose did not have links underlined. There were a tremendous number of complaints and a lot of confused users because of it, so we added them in via the theme CSS. I wonder if Google will face the same reaction. I personally prefer links underlined.

Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
Director, Emerging Technology
Center for Instructional Technology
University of Alabama

On Mar 13, 2014, at 6:12 PM, "Angela French" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Wondering what you all think? While it may not matter to screen readers it may matter to a lot of other folks.
>
> http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/13/5503894/google-removes-underlined-links-site-redesign
>
> Angela French
> Internet Specialist
> State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
> 360-704-4316
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> www.checkoutacollege.com<;http://www.checkoutacollege.com>;
> www.sbctc.edu<;http://www.sbctc.edu>;
>
> > >

From: Alastair Campbell
Date: Fri, Mar 14 2014 11:04AM
Subject: Re: Google removes underlines. What do you think?
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In Google's case it probably won't make a lot of difference. People are so
familiar with the page, even if you do have trouble distinguishing colour
it is unlikely to cause an issue.

However, it does make it more difficult for the rest of us to make that
case.

This was a good summary, thanks to Adrian for writing it otherwise I might
have had to try.
http://blog.adrianroselli.com/2014/03/i-dont-care-what-google-did-just-keep.html

-Alastair

From: Elizabeth J. Pyatt
Date: Fri, Mar 14 2014 12:36PM
Subject: Re: Google removes underlines. What do you think?
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I see two accessibility problems with the links current Google search results page.

1. They are using the hover attribute to display underlines, but they did NOT do the same for :focus. If you are on a keyboard, links are particularly invisible.
2. The majority of the links are actually gray and plaintext. They include the links at the top (i.e. "Web, Images, News...) and the links connecting to Google Circles.
I have to ask - why have links to a Google Circle is they are practically invisible?

In terms of removing the underline for in-text links, I am not a fan, but am OK with it when link text is bold face (this can provide some contrast for those with color vision issues).

I also think using a shade of blue different from black is important because most people with color vision issues can perceive blue. But the blue shouldn't be so dark that it merges with the rest of the text. Unfortunately, I see a lot of that these days.

Elizabeth

P.S. I will note that the top hits for "link usability" indicate that underlining is good practice.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = , (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building (formerly Rider II)
227 W. Beaver Avenue
State College, PA 16801-4819
http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/psu
http://tlt.psu.edu

From: Iaffaldano, Michelangelo
Date: Mon, Mar 17 2014 8:07AM
Subject: Re: Google removes underlines. What do you think?
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Elizabeth, if you and I are looking at the same version of Google's SERP, it seems that the links in the body of the page are underlined, while the ones that belong in the top and side navigation are not. This is a widely adopted convention. An old Jakob Nielsen column spells it out like so: "There are two main cases in which you can safely eliminate underlines: navigation menus and other lists of links. However, this is true only when the page design clearly indicates the area's function." (http://www.nngroup.com/articles/guidelines-for-visualizing-links/)

I completely agree with you that we should style a link's focus state. In this case, Google's default focus outline is arguably more visible than their subtle hover effects, but no matter.

Michelangelo





-----Original Message-----
From: Elizabeth J. Pyatt [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: March 14, 2014 2:37 PM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Google removes underlines. What do you think?

I see two accessibility problems with the links current Google search results page.

1. They are using the hover attribute to display underlines, but they did NOT do the same for :focus. If you are on a keyboard, links are particularly invisible.
2. The majority of the links are actually gray and plaintext. They include the links at the top (i.e. "Web, Images, News...) and the links connecting to Google Circles.
I have to ask - why have links to a Google Circle is they are practically invisible?

In terms of removing the underline for in-text links, I am not a fan, but am OK with it when link text is bold face (this can provide some contrast for those with color vision issues).

I also think using a shade of blue different from black is important because most people with color vision issues can perceive blue. But the blue shouldn't be so dark that it merges with the rest of the text. Unfortunately, I see a lot of that these days.

Elizabeth

P.S. I will note that the top hits for "link usability" indicate that underlining is good practice.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = , (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building (formerly Rider II)
227 W. Beaver Avenue
State College, PA 16801-4819
http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/psu
http://tlt.psu.edu