Although there are exceptions, it is customary on the Internet that when a word or phrase contains a link or hyperlink that allows access to another web page or online content, that word or phrase is blue and is also underlined. What is the origin of this custom?
Links or hyperlinks allow, by simply clicking on them, to access other content hosted on the Internet
Older users will remember that although today there are many Internet browsers, there was a time when there was only one available to the general public: Mosaic. And this already included the links highlighting them from the rest of the text in that color Mosaic was a browser developed in 1993 by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina for internal use at NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) and until the arrival of Netscape (commercial version of Mosaic, introduced in 1994) and Microsoft Explorer (introduced in 1995 and developed on the basis of Mosaic) it was the major reference for browsing the Internet and the basis for subsequent commercial browsers.
It was here that for the first time the color blue appeared in hyperlinks, since at that time color monitors were already beginning to proliferate, gradually cornering the old monochrome phosphor monitors in which on a black background the letters or graphics were only represented with a single color, usually green although there were also those with other colors, such as amber or yellow.
In the most primitive times of what would later be known as the Internet there were not even different colors, because the monitors were black and white. In the early Project Xanadu (1964) in which for the first time two different pages were connected and the interface, as it could not be otherwise, was in black and white. In addition, the links were simple lines that graphically showed the connection with other pages.
At the base is the development of the “language of the Internet”, the HTMLThe term “hypertext markup language”, which stands for hypertext markup language, includes the possibility of enriching a written text (hence the term hypertext) with links that allow access to other web pages or to content indicated in the text, such as images, sounds or videos.
The introduction of color would come in 1983 with the HyperTies (hyperlinks) where, on a black background typical of phosphor monitors of the time, the presence of such links was already highlighted by presenting a light blue color, a color that would acquire a darker tone, the one that is common today, with the arrival of Microsoft Windows 1.0 in 1985 which, in addition, would add the characteristic underline to the word or phrase containing the hyperlink.
But previously, in 1993, with the advent of Mosaic 0.13was the first time that hyperlinks appeared in their current format solid blue color and underlined word or phrase.
From that moment on, the other browsers that began to proliferate adopted the same look and feel, partly because they were based on the same browser. They were the aforementioned Netscape Navigator (in October 1994) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (in July 1995), the latter being the first Internet browser that was already integrated into the operating system itself, Windows 95.
As for the reason for choosing the blue color so identifiable of the links, although there is no definitive or incontrovertible explanation, the journalist Elise Blanchard has made a documented research on the origin of the hyperlinks and argues that it is due to the influence of the Windows 3.1 color schemea version of Microsoft’s operating system for personal computers that appeared a few months before the development of the Mosaic browser was completed.
The color blue, in the same tone associated since then to the links, predominated in the design of the Windows 3.1 interface, whose master lines began to stand out visually because just at that time color computer monitors were beginning to become popular. Mosaic would have simply gone with the flow by also adapting its browser to various operating systems at a time when Windows was beginning to gain popularity, a trend that would be followed by Netscape Navigator.
At Microsoft they had little work to do, since by the time Internet Explorer arrived it was already integrated into the operating system of which that dark navy blue tone formed an essential part. A colour which, moreover, happens to have a very simple nomenclature in the rGB codes: #0000FFwhich means that its proportions are 0% red, 0% green and 100% blue.