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7 April 2016

Sometimes no matter how much work you put into something, you don't make any progress. Fortunately we work for a manager who appreciates that. But he doesn't have season tickets to the Giants games, who opened today in San Francisco.

So there was not a lot he could do for us today. He couldn't even reach far enough to pat us on the back. And when he tried to exhort us with sympathetic words of encouragement (or a joke), we couldn't hear him because we were talking.

Hard being your own boss when you find yourself spinning your wheels.

The trick is to come up with a productive diversion. Which is just what we did.


Someone had asked if we had reviewed the 3Pod Orbit so we had it on a tab in our browser to grab the URL (going to the site itself is infinitely less rewarding, apparently, than asking the overburdened editor for the URL). But it looked funny to us all of a sudden.

The little table of contents on the right side with its blue unvisited and purple visited links distracted us. It was the color. Competing for attention on the page.

We took a vote and it was unanimous. Make the change.

On our headline pages we try to keep everything black-and-white with a teal highlight color so the images steal the show. Why hadn't we done that in the long article table of contents?

Well, the theory to which we adhere is that a link should look like a link if there's any question about it. Blue underlined text is the default and traditional look of an unvisited link. Purple text is the default and traditional look of a visited link. No confusion.

We adhere to that standard in the text of our stories.


But context can sometimes lend you a little leeway. And a table of contents (on a well coded site) should be a list of links, by definition. So you don't have to shout about it in blue underlines and purple.

We don't do that on our headline pages so why do it in our long articles? We took a vote and it was unanimous. Make the change.

Of course, the minute we made the change we realized that multiple-story reviews like the OpticFilm 135 review have two menus and we should be consistent.

So the official style is 1) gray text to avoid competing but remain handy 2) with our teal highlight should you hover over a link. And 3) back to gray text for visited links in a table of contents because there's little value in tracking what you've clicked.


Except there was the issue of an underline. A dotted one in the left-hand column list of stories in the headline pages.

We didn't use an underline for either table of contents, so why were we using one on the story links on the headline page?

No good reason. So after another unanimous vote, they're gone.


We skipped lunch but we find the changes fulfilling, as this piece illustrates (or would if it were twice as long). You're free to disagree, though. Just use the Feedback button below to let us know.

Now back to spinning our wheels.

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