For the last 8 years I’ve argued with every single art director I’ve worked with about the inclusion of underlined links in ads and website design. Why? They work. And if they’re blue, they work even better. Which is why today I’m rather surprised to see Trade Me have today dropped their underlined blue links back to being plain text rollover links.
Trade Me has always invested a huge amount of time in improving usability and simplifying the transactional flow but I’m not sure they’ve got it right this time.
I realise underlined links aren’t used by all. Twitter and Facebook simply use colour to differentiate their links. And Google’s new design has also adopted coloured links to present their navigation – but their search listings and AdWords are still very much about underlined blue links.
It’s great that Trade Me continue to make incremental improvements but I think this one may be an increment too far. Remove underlining from the navigation, sure, but I’d suggest they still make their listings underlined blue links. Those links are after all other people’s classified ads.