HCI principle: Gulf of Evaluation in wild

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While building this website, I was reminded of several HCI principles that I learned during my HCI classes. It is one thing when you learn the principles through textbooks and appreciate their importance when you see a real life examples that clearly demonstrates them. But when it comes to recalling them when you design a system (e.g., this website), you develop a new level of appreciation higher that ever before.

To elaborate this, lets take an example of a webpage. We are so accustomed to using websites that we subconsciously develop some standard expectations from webpages. For instance, you expect a hyperlink to be colored in blue shades rather than simply left uncolored or colored with non-standard, non-blue colors. Recently, I came across some articles (1, 2, 3) that explain the effects choice of color on the number of clicks on a webpage. I started off with using black color (default one) for the links. But as I started browsing my own webpages, I realized that black link did not make it apparent whether there is a hyperlink or not. That reminded me about a classic principle - Gulf of evaluation - from my HCI classes. Ultimately, I Googled what colors are standards for hyperlinks. I learned that Google uses #2A5DB0 and Wikipedia uses #0645ad as their primary link colors and then I turned most of the links on this website to a shade of blue close to what Google Search Engine uses.