Bring back the visited styles

While reading the old-but-gold 37signals manifesto their use of :visited styles caught my eye. I wonder why we came to use it so sparsely these days. Is it us designers and frontend developers being lazy? Is it because it “looks nicer” when all links look the same?

Whatever the reason is that :visited got abandoned I found it vastly useful to know whether I’ve already visited a certain URL. In fact, it encouraged me to read in a non-chronological fashion because it reduced the fear of not knowing where to continue and wasting time.

I can see no valid excuse to withheld this simple and effective means of navigation from users. Yet I’m pondering about conventions that are immediately understood. Most people have learned about the meaning of purple colored links on a Google search results page. Transporting the meaning of visited links by using the same color across the entire the web is not an option. Yet wouldn’t it be great if we had a consistent way so signal URLs we’ve already visited?


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