Sky is Blue…And So are Hyperlinks (Story time!)

Sky is Blue…And So are Hyperlinks (Story time!)

A hyperlink or a link is an icon, graphic, or text in a webpage that links to another web page, document or object. The World Wide Web is comprised of hyperlinks linking trillions and trillions of pages and files to one another. Being one of the top web design companies in Phoenix, we’re here to help you know more about these blue loops that seem to be everywhere.

First, let’s get some terminology straight.

Links are used as reference to data that can directly be followed by clicking, tapping or hovering. When it’s in the form of a text, it’s called hypertext. The text that is linked from it is called the anchor text. The document containing a hyperlink is known as the source document.

The effect of following a hyperlink varies in accordance with the hypertext system and may sometimes depend on the link itself.

While most hyperlinks cause the target document to replace the document being displayed, some are marked to cause the target document to open in a new window.

Another effect is transclusion, for which the link target is a document fragment that replaces the link anchor within the source document.

So where did it all begin?

The term ‘hyperlink’ was coined by the American pioneer of information technology, Ted Nelson in 1965. He was inspired by the works of Vannevar Bush in his popular essay ‘As We May Think’ (1945). In a series of articles published from 1964 through 1980, Nelson transposed Bush’s concept of automated cross-referencing into the context of computers and the internet.

And before we knew it, they took over the internet!

But why are they blue?

The truth is we don’t know. No one does.

It had been speculated for a long time blue was the color of choice simply for visibility. Joe Clark, the author of the book ‘Building Accessible Websites’ (2002) explained – “Red and green are the colors most affected by color-vision deficiency.  Almost no one has a blue deficiency. Accordingly, nearly everyone can see blue, or, more accurately, almost everyone can distinguish blue as a color different from others.”

However, that is not entirely true.

Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the WWW had this to say on The World Wide Web Consortium about the blue color of the hyperlinks:

“There is no reason why one should use color, or blue, to signify links: it is just a default. I think the first WWW client (World Wide Web I wrote for the NeXT) used just underline to represent link, as it was a spare emphasis form which isn’t used much in real documents. Blue came in as browsers went color — I don’t remember which was the first to use blue…

My guess is that blue is the darkest color and so threatens the legibility least. I used green whenever I could in the early WWW design, for nature and because it is supposed to be relaxing. Robert Cailliau made the WWW icon in many colors but chose green as he had always seen W in his head as green.”

What we do know for sure is that blue links have been the default link style on the web for more than 20 years and they are here to stay.

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