Use a:visited in your CSS stylesheet

By default browsers will render links blue, and links that have been visited purple.

This quality of life feature goes back as far as I can remember, a casual search tells me the feature existed in Mosaic.

I kinda love blue links. They’re so recognizable as links. But with CSS, many people change the colors of their links.

a { color: #44F }

Unfortunately, when setting a new color the ‘purple visited link’ feature also gets disabled. I think this is a shame, as there’s so many instances where you’re going through a list of links and want to see what you’ve seen before.

The 2 examples I ran into today were:

  • AWS Cloudwatch Logs
  • Stackoverflow search results

In each of these products I often find myself going through a list of results, to find the exact log I need, or to go through a couple of answers before I find a good one.

Except, every time I hit back, or go to a previous tab it’s up to me to remember which I have and haven’t visited.

AWS Cloudwatch logs

I get that not everyone wants to multi-colored links across their application, but if you’re making a list, consider the humble purple link!

a:visited { color: purple }

Confession: I added this rule minutes before I posted this article. Turns out that while I was annoyed by other applications, I’m guilty of the same thing.

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