Color

Color matters. It plays a pivotal role in our visual experience, whether we are viewing it on a website or a wall.

Color application in web derives primarily from print-based color theory, although more recently color on the web is garnering more attention. At no other time has the term “look and feel” been so applicable and important to what happens on a website.

Color undeniably makes us feel in a way that other elements on a web page simply cannot. This has a direct impact on two essential elements of web: how the visitor will behave on your site, and the experience they glean from having been to the site in the first place. You want that experience to be a positive one.

Color and Marketing The relationships between color and marketing are strongly interrelated. Over 90% of us place most importance on visual factors when purchasing products. Only 5.6 percent think that the physical feel via the sense of touch was most important. Hearing and smell each drew 0.9 percent.

Color and Brand Identity Color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent (University of Loyola, Maryland study). Consider Apple Computers. Apple brought color into a marketplace where color had not been seen before. By introducing the colorful iMacs, Apple was the first to say, "It doesn't have to be beige".

Color Influences Red increases the rate at which the heart beats and, causing time to appear to pass faster. Green, creates an atmosphere of emotional balance. The eyes relax and concentration increases. Blue has a relaxing effect on muscles and the heart beats slower, it feels as if time has suddenly slowed down. Hospitals don't use strong colors, as neutral pastel tones create a sense of well-being. In operating rooms, however, green has replaced the more clinical white, since it has been found to calm patients more.

Color Engages and Increases Participation Ads in color are read up to 42% more often than the same ads in black and white (as shown in study on phone directory ads).

Color Informs Color can improve readership by 40 percent, learning from 55 to 78 percent, and comprehension by 73 percent.

Color Attracts Attention Tests indicate that a black and white image may sustain interest for less than two-thirds a second, whereas a colored image may hold the attention for two seconds or more.

People cannot process every object within view at one time. Therefore, color can be used as a tool to emphasize or de-emphasize areas.

Do colors influence web site visitors?
When creating a site, choosing the optimum colors is one of the most difficult tasks that arise in spite of the apparent easiness. Choosing the perfect chromatic palette is important in order to effectively communicate the message, in order to strengthen the idea of a unique entity and to create brand awareness.

How to choose colors?
The color scheme that you use on your web site can entice the visitor to engage in the goal of your site (i.e. make a purchase or request your services) or leave it after the first few seconds. Even if they are not aware of it, your visitors will be greatly influenced in their decision to keep browsing your site or to leave it because of the poor selection of colors and other visual displayed elements.

Start with a fresh, natural palette of colors and build impact from there
Colors picked for calls to action and other visual cues are critical on the web, as site visitors have limited patience and are looking to process information and make decisions quickly. Since the brain recognizes and forms an emotional bond with colors almost immediately, colors are a natural choice for visual cues. The examples below show varying degrees of color palettes that contain both neutral and bolder, more vivid accent colors.

ColorPalettes

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ColorPalette3

Create a strong contrast between a page's background and its text
The best combination for readability is black text on white background. Besides white, other effective web site background colors are dark blue and a beautiful charcoal gray. We don’t use black as the background color on websites because the type color then must be white, which is difficult to read and makes the eye work harder. The situation is not the same for product promotions. When the product is the center of attention, de-saturated colors are recommended. The graphics below show the difference:

Desaturated

In the first picture the product box appears to have a lesser emphasis – the blue background receives the most attention to the human eye. in the second photo all the eyes are attracted to the product box.

Color Harmony
Chromatic harmony is one of the most important criteria in order to create a pleasant experience for your visitors. It is strongly recommended that a moderate number of colors be employed for best visual impact. You want your visitors to understand immediately where you want them to read and take action. Some colors in the palette play a supporting role, others are specifically designed to compel the visitor to behave in a way that you have planned for.

Make sure that the message of your site reaches everyone
It is estimated that 7 – 10% of our population has some form of color blindness. The example here shows how good use of color contrast improves readability in general.

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Old vs. Young Website Visitors
People of different ages have different reactions to colors. People past a certain age will find web sites with more sober and restrained (and therefore relaxing to the eye) colors more attractive. Younger audiences appreciate vivid and brighter colors.

Men vs. Women Visitors
People also have preferences according to their gender. Men tend to prefer blue and orange to red and yellow, while women prefer red to blue and yellow to orange. It’s useful to remember that women are able to perceive considerably more colors than men; while men may find peach, teal or peacock as mere notions, women more closely associate them with things that they perceive as positive or negative.