Why Are Hyperlinks Blue?

Being a web developer, many of times I have wondered why blue was chosen as the default color for hyperlinks. Was it a random pick? Maybe just someones personal preference? Well, came across the answer while reading an article and I’m sharing it with you, so that you will not be kept up at night while trying to figure it out anymore.

Mosaic Browser Screenshot with Blue Hyperlinks

Here is the low-down:

“Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue. Mosaic, a very early web browser, displayed webpages with a (ugly) gray background and black text. The darkest color available at the time that was not the same as the black text was that blue color. Therefore, to make links stand apart from plain text, but still be readable, the color blue was selected.”
Bennet Feely, Quora.com Discussion

When Sir Tim made the choice to make links default to blue with an underline, he probably was not thinking about user accessibility. It is a great coincidence he did though, because according to Joe Clark that made it much easier for those who have variations of color-blindness:

“Red and green are the colours most affected by colour-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 colour different from others. It was pure good luck that the default colour of hyperlinks is blue with underlining.”
Joe Clark, Building Accessible Websites

Even though nowadays we have the ability to change links from the default style, it is pretty crazy to think how one person’s decision is able to completely change the way millions of people identify hyperlinks.

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