Google is currently testing something that some people (ok well maybe just me) are calling ‘Black Tuesday”. The world’s most used search engine is currently A/B testing black links for search results, and it’s not going down too well.
UX is integral in our digital age; designs should always be created with the user in mind. Certain things should come as standard as they are already ingrained in the way that we use the internet, and the blue underlined hyperlink is one of them.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee supposedly made hyperlinks blue purely randomly, but the colour choice has now become integral the way we explore the internet. They are the default for ‘Click here’: the place of sanctuary during a long paragraph of text or truly valuable portals to interesting pictures & websites. Don’t hide them!
According to Colour Blind Awareness, reduced sensitivity to blue is also extremely rare, so having links blue not only makes them more visible and easier to see, but it also means more people are likely to see it without issue.
Don’t get me wrong, A/B testing is integral to digital design and Google have rigorously tested many parts of their search engine in the past. The most famous being an A/B test of different shades of blue, obviously given the nickname ’50 shades of blue’. Google’s design team couldn’t decide between two shades of blue, so instead 41 options were tested. Each shade was then shown to 1% of users and the results were surprisingly conclusive: a purple shade of blue that we now all know and love. This testing led to extra $200m a year in ad revenue, but to be honest I sincerely doubt that this testing will lead to the same result.
A Google spokesperson has also pretty much confirmed our thoughts saying, “We’re not quite sure that black is the new blue.” Phew! For now at least (whilst I still have a chance) I’m going straight to my settings and changing it back!
In the slightly muddled words of Amy Winehouse:
“We only said goodbye with words,
I died a hundred times
Please go back to blue,
And never go back to… Black”