by anthony on 08/30/10 at 5:20 pm
A list of links can look like a big blob of paragraph text if they’re not formatted right. This is evident when you try to scan the headlines on USA Today and LA times. It’s hard to tell that they’re links because they’re not using a link color that’s different from the text color. Not only that, they’re hard to scan because there’s no visual stopping point for each link.
The way to make a list of links easy to scan is to bullet them. CNN and Yahoo News get it right by bulleting their links. The reason bulleting works so well is because when our eyes brush-over a list of headlines the bullets act as an anchor that allows our eyes to move quickly to the beginning of the next headline with ease.
Without the bullets, it makes it harder to find the beginning of each headline. Bullets can also make a list of links look less overwhelming by giving users a holistic sense of how much information is there. By scanning the number of bullets on the left, they can get a sense of information depth.
If your text is black, you shouldn’t use black for your links otherwise users will have a hard time distinguishing them. Instead, use blue to make your links more visible. If users can clearly spot your links, there’s a higher chance they’ll click them.
This simple technique is easy to do and worth the benefits. When it comes to content rich sites, scannability is everything. Be the site that’s easy to scan and format your links the right way.