Understanding the Pyschology of Color in Web Design

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So you've bought the domain, you've got some great sales copy, ensure your meta and alt tags are doing they're job, have a few graphics thrown in for good measure and are all set to publish your design to the web. Right?

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Wrong. But though you're on the right track, you might have overlooked what research is now calling one of the most crucial elements in site design: color.Having the right color scheme might be one of the ways to make or break your site. Since you only have about the first ten seconds of a user's attention span, you need to ensure that what they first see catches their eye.

The fact that the users are visiting your site means you've got the core elements of design on target, but now you have to keep them there. True, you'll need great a great sales pitch and copy but don't underestimate the importance of a color's pyschology.

Colors mean different things to different people and can symbolise different things in different cultures. For instance, if you're marketing your website for Asian users, a green hat with a white carnation as a corporate logo might seem creative but it might also get you backlashed and I'll explain why. A green hat in China means a man's wife is cheating on him and the white carnation symbolises death in Japan. Using the two in conjunction is a definite no-no.

Similarly, each color has a different meaning behind it which is subjective and relative to each user's past experience.

Take the color red for instance, it could mean different things to different people based on their histories and associations with the color. It could mean a source of extreme pleasure for one and symbolise anger for another.

On the upside, websites created with different shades of blue or a blue-white combination are generally quite popular. Why? Blue typically represents a sense of calm, trust and security besides being easy on the eye.

However, using bright blue or bright of any color is a bad idea owing to the fact that the human eye will need to adjust to each color and will put unneeded strain on their eyes.

Pink normally represents softness and gentility, which is why it is often used in baby care products while orange which symbolises potency and power is normally used in vitamins and health products, energy drinks etc.

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Consider's Newton's first law - every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. For each color that you choose, there will be a dfferent reaction to it by every user approaching that site. The question now becomes: how do you know which color won't affront?

Try basing your color choices on what your site content and product sells, considering the audience & culture and gender preferences. Men and women prefer different variations of color - men often prefer brighter colors and are generally okay with grays and blacks, while women prefer softer tones likes pastel shades. Cultures vary regarding color usage - for instance a yellow and black site could be a wonderful combination for Americans, but might serve as a reminder to Nazi Germany for an Israeli, hence enforcing that those two colors should never be used in conjunction when designing a website for a Jewish corporation.

Let's say you just love the blue/purple combination and have a nature-based website. Users do not often associate purple or blue with nature. Green and yellow might be more useful, with yellow used sparingly and green used predominantly due to its generally calming nature.

Multicolored websites have the least visitation span with the span reducing with the introduction of each new color. In general, not more than five different colors should be used on a single page.

Concluding, each website is defined not only by the content but by its color - an indirect approach to marketing and propagating a message. While we use body language, websites use colors to demonstrate the subtleties and finer text.

Colors should not be used to support information, but rather to represent the site's message and remain consistent throughout the website.

If you're working with the right colors, you're sending out the right message!

Online Press Release Service.

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