1 - I'm wondering if anyone has found any official guidelines (I've looked,
but haven't found) or developed any personal conventions for the use of
hyperlinks vs. button in desktop applications.
For instance, in my current application, we provide some links to external
websites. This seems like a no-brainer to display as a hyperlink. But it
becomes more ambiguous. We had a Search and I wanted to provide access to
Advanced Search... I could show this as either a button or a link.
But within Windows and Office applications, the use of hyperlinks is
becoming more prevalent. Microsoft uses it to select files, pop up More...
and Options... dialogs, lead to help or ancillary information, navigate the
interface, and access advanced functions.
I haven't found any strict pattern to this usage, but it does seem to be a
useful way to display a function somewhat more discreetly than with a
button. It can work quite well in the context of other text.
Any thoughts or experiences? Usability studies?
2 - How should hyperlinks be displayed visually? Always blue? Always with a
I'm noticed that Microsoft always uses blue text, not underlined. However,
in our app, the screens have various color backgrounds and text is usually
black. I find the blue doesn't always look good and frequently draws too
much attention. So, I'm thinking our convention should be: various colors,
but always underlined.