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48% of people consider website design as the number 1 factor in deciding business credibility*
Colour plays a vital role in most designs and can be an extremely powerful tool. It communicates mood, helps with signposting, indicating functions and assisting users in making decisions or taking action. It’s important to consider not only the general perception and potential psychological associations of the colours you are using but also the physiology of human vision and to be aware of, and account for, different levels of colour blindness.
There are some obvious things you can do – common sense prevails here, such as not colouring primary action buttons red (which is commonly associated with errors or stop signs, so try green, for ‘go’ instead) or using colours that clash on top of or next to one another.
One sometimes less obvious tip is to consider not only the hue of your colours and how they go together but also their contrast against both black and white, as well as each other. This is important for accessibility as not all of us perceive colour in the same way: if we use two or more colours together which lack contrast then it can become very difficult for some people to determine the difference, which will ultimately mean a loss of information to your user. Prior to the design phase of your new website, all of your brand colours should be checked using a tool such as contrastchecker.com.
Colour is also important in communicating the mood of your website and while this may not be immediately obvious in terms of UX design, it is all a part of the overall experience. Colour creates emotion and thus it’s worth considering the psychology of the colours of your brand and creating a scheme which will make sure that your site is going to elicit the desired response from your users. See this great infographic below by The Logo Company for some well-known examples:
Eye tracking is a pretty nifty technology that measures the activity, focus and motion of a user’s eye. As designers, we can leverage this research to understand how our users are looking at our websites and where to place important content as a result. The great thing is that you don’t need to establish this method of testing yourself – there are numerous studies online which show us typical results and therefore can be used to inform our decisions when creating a user experience.
Perhaps the best known result of any study that incorporated eye tracking is the ‘F’ pattern: published in 2006 by famous usability expert Jakob Nielsen, we now know that the average and everyday web user will usually read any webpage in this shape, making an initial horizontal movement at the top of the page, then down the left hand side and across a small amount before heading downward again. Knowing this pattern gives us the justification to design a website with the navigation or striking headline across the top and the main content of the page towards the left hand side. A great idea is to install heat mapping software such as Crazy Egg on your site so you can see for yourself exactly where your users are clicking and how best to adjust your layout to make it even easier to use.