Kim said: A link is indicated by an underline or change in hover color or some sort of clue that it's a link. Removing the tell tale signs that it's a link tells me it's not a link, but is a "You Are Here" pointer. The label is the same, but the function signal has changed.
I think that's a generality, Kim (the "edit" and "profile" buttons, et al, here have no such visual clues, save for the browser-dependent tool tips), and is ONLY true because you are an experienced user. We have moved a long way from Nielsen's "all links are blue, all links are underlined" dictums. Design now signals links as much by their position on the page as by appearance. I have no problem with changing the appearance to ADD to the function, but still think throwing away the function is a mistake. A user WILL NOT CLICK on a same-page link unless they are already confused by the site's design. I don't think we should simply ignore their confusion by ignoring their click.
Peter said: That is why JN offers guidelines, not rules.
Google offers guidelines. At best, Nielsen offers advice and, at worse, unsupported opinions.
I hate to turn down yet another street, but while the Home Link violation Nielsen suggests as gospel is, in my opinion, the most dangerous on his list, it's really not even the most egregious. Number one is outdated (note the reference to search engines), number two suggests that newspaper columns should expand to fit our dining room table, and number three ignores the fact that nearly ten percent of all men are color blind. He usually comes up with at least two or three good points, but there isn't one single item in this list that I could call universally applicable.
Bill said: I like links to be brutally, blatantly obvious. A logo used as a link rarely is. It may be a standard that many people have adopted, but that doesn't mean that I need to like it.
A standard? It honestly took me forever to become accustomed to moving my mouse pointer over the logo, but then, I figured I was just a bit slow. I could really go either way and, with different designs, have. I might link the logo, I might not, but in either case, I will do the SAME THING on every page that has a logo.
Bill said: I'm not convinced that navigation has to remain consistent on each page. I'll opt for intelligent, informative, and useful before consistent.
That's only because you're intelligent, Bill.
I guess I just don't see those attributes as being mutually exclusive. In the rare instance where consistency is going to result in something dumb, I'll be the first to throw that hobgoblin out the window (actually, I think even Emerson specifically characterized "foolish" consistency as the hobgoblin of little minds). Giving a visual clue to current location, whether by changing the appearance of the link or some other technique, qualifies as intelligent and informative. Allowing the link to remain a link, for the benefit of the less intelligent, doesn't in any way conflict with that.
Peter said: The reality is that link redundancy works. Ugly design sells. Repitition is a must.
Redundancy, repetition, and consistency are the cornerstones of usability, in my opinion. Given those, and as Diane suggests, we might even occasionally be able to get away with not-ugly.
Kim said: I can honestly say I haven't gotten lost because the functionality of a link changed in the navigation. What does get me confused is when the order of link labels is suddenly out of order, or navigation disappears altogether.
But they follow exactly
the same principles of consistency, Kim. The only real difference is your own level of experience. Those with considerably less experience (as are most of my visitors) get confused over a whole lot less than you do.
Kim said: I don't trust "Home" links because I've been in too many situations where "Home" takes me off the site and onto the "Mother ship" site instead.
A valid concern, to be sure. Given the importance of anchor text these days, one might hope the labels we use will become more meaningful?
Sophie said: Great thread by the way.