A reader grills me about color

Karen, a color expert, writes to see what I have to say about her topic of interest:

1. What is your view on colour? (general)

I like it :) My favorite is red.

2. How much do you think colour affects people when clicking into a website?

A lot more than most people realize — in two ways. Firstly, color is strongly associated with emotions that we're often not aware of. For example, using blue on a website will tend to subconsciously make people feel like the site is trustworthy. Red works poorly on buttons very often because it connotes danger — but very well in headlines for the same reason. Secondly, color directs where we look (and when) to a significant degree. Overuse of color is actually one of the most common mistakes web designers make, and it kills conversions. MarketingExperiments actually ran a web clinic on this — if you have an hour, it's an eye-opener: http://www.marketingexperiments.com/site-optimization/website-colors-and-conversion.html

3. Do you get bothered by people's background colour? Does it cause you eye strain sometimes?

Sometimes. Most websites these days (at least the ones I see) don't make the mistake of using a dark background color with light text. On the rare occasions I do see this, however, I'll either leave, or if I have to read something there for some reason, I'll use Readability.

4. What made you chose your colour combination?

A number of factors — largely it had to do with a love of classic typography and wanting to reproduce that on the web, but in a way that fit well with my own color preferences. Having dabbled in calligraphy, I love rich inks on heavy stock, particularly reds and browns. And those are colors that fit very well with my motif, yet are underused on the web in my opinion.

Got any color questions? Send them on through — I'll see if I can't give you some helpful advice.

Talk again soon,

D Bnonn Tennant
‘The Information Highwayman’

D Bnonn Tennant, ‘The Information Highwayman’, signs his name to this