Your shoppers need to distinguish products they’ve viewed from those they haven’t. The web already has a default standard for this: unvisited links are blue while visited links are purple. Yet, only 74% of sites change the color of their links once users have visited them. And for e-commerce, that percentage is certainly lower.
Why is changing link colors important?
Due to the nature of e-commerce, shoppers rarely buy in one go. If Jonah comes in to buy a new extension socket, he’s not going to check out with the first one he sees.
More often than not he’s going to look at all the extension sockets you have and compare their prices, the lengths of the power cords, the number of appliances each extension socket can support, the presence of inbuilt surge protection, and so on. He’ll eventually pick whichever one he feels gives him the best value for money and check out.
While Jonah is doing all this comparison between extension sockets, he’ll be navigating between the list of results and the product page of each individual extension socket. Let’s say you have nine extension sockets for sale.
Jonah will rely on the back button to get back to the results page every time he views the details of an extension socket. The first item on your list of nine is easy to click and keep track of. So are the second and third items. It’s the middle elements (fourth to seventh) of that list that might prove troublesome. What happens if Jonah loses his train of thought and forgets whether he was on the fourth or fifth item? What happens if he takes a bathroom break, a snack break, or accidentally refreshes the results page? The result is a lot of confusion and frustration. He may end up clicking the same link multiple times and getting lost repeatedly.
Even if he doesn’t lose his train of thought, Jonah might still view items one to three, accidentally skip number four, view five & six, accidentally skip number seven, and finish with eight and nine. Assuming he has seen everything you have to offer, he leaves for another store after concluding you don’t have any good extension sockets yet four and seven were your best products. But it doesn’t matter because Jonah is unaware of their existence.
All this navigational confusion can be solved by changing the link color. Once Jonah clicks on a link, the color changes. When he comes back to the results page, the difference between the links he has visited and those he hasn’t is very clear so he never loses his position on the page or accidentally skips a product link.
What to keep in mind
The default color of unvisited links on the web is blue while purple is the default for the visited ones so whatever you do, never reverse these colors since that will just confuse your customers.
If you choose colors other than blue and purple, choose a bright saturated color for unvisited links and a less bright unsaturated color for visited links.
Other methods you can use to highlight visited pages
- Checkmark or checkbox under the link.