by anthony on 10/11/10 at 11:47 pm
Have you ever decided to pass on a product because you didn’t like its colors? Colors affect the way we see products, but they can also affect the way we see websites.
Colors and other visual elements are the first impressions users get on a website. If your site uses the right colors and makes a good impression, the chances are that users will end up investing time and energy into your content. You may have a great content, but if you don’t use colors that fit your site, it’s hard for users to give your content a second thought.
The key to choosing the right colors for your website is to understand color saturation and how it affects users. Saturation is basically the amount of gray in a color. The more saturated a color is the less gray it has. The less saturated a color is the more gray it has.
Saturated colors are exciting and dynamic. They attract a lot of attention and slow users down in their task. Saturated colors work well for buttons, links, alerts and system messages because in these situations you want to grab the user’s attention. Use saturated colors sparingly, and only when you want users to pay attention to something specific. Not using saturated colors correctly is probably the most common mistake designers make with colors.
Desaturated colors, however, help ease task performance and efficiency. Because of this, they are best used on menus, headers, panels and other backgrounds, where attracting attention is not necessary. The difference between different desaturated colors is the tone they convey. Desaturated bright colors generally convey a friendly and professional tone. Desaturated dark colors generally convey a more serious and professional tone. The right colors for you will depend on your content and how you want users to perceive your site.
A safe color to use with other colors is gray. Gray is a neutral color that won’t compete with saturated or desaturated colors. There are different shades of gray that can complement the colors of your site. If your site uses cool colors, then a gray mixed with a tiny amount of your main cool color would complement your colors best. If your site uses warm colors, then a gray mixed with a tiny amount of your main warm color would complement your colors best.
The colors you choose for your site can affect the way users feel about you and the content you offer. Don’t start off on the wrong foot by using the wrong colors for your site. Make a good first impression with your users by using saturated and desaturated colors correctly.