Why is blue the default color for hyperlinks in Web browsers? In a Mozilla blog post, Elise Blanchard explores the mystery, tracing the first underlined hyperlink to Windows 1.0 and the first use of the blue underlined hyperlink to version 0.13 of the NCSA Mosaic browser, launched in April 1993. Mosaic was the first popular graphical Web browser, and the color just stuck.
As for the exact reason why browser developers chose blue, it’s still a mystery, but Blanchard offers some theories. Some say it’s a standard to maximize contrast, but it’s not a particularly high contrast color choice, and Mosaic predates the W3C Web standards organization by nearly a year. Instead, Blanchard leans toward the booming popularity of color monitors in the early 1990s and the fact that Mosaic was so ubiquitous.
However, it could be as simple as a key programmer liking the color blue—some decisions really are arbitrary. Even if Blanchard fails to unearth a definitive answer, her trip through history is fun to read.