Using Colour to Modify Website User Behaviour

Choosing the right colours for your website isn’t just about choosing colours you like. There is a whole aspect of psychology that examines how colour makes people feel about your brand, and prompts them to respond. Colour can influence your website visitors with non-verbal communication, and there I want to give you some tools to choose the best colours that will get your user’s behaving the way you want.

Cultural association of colour

Fistly, you need to be aware that different cultures interpret colours in different ways. Take read and green for example, globally this indicates ‘stop’ and ‘go’ like in a traffic light. But if you are anglo-saxon you might interpret the colour red as perhaps representing concepts of sin, betrayal or anger.

In Chinese cultures, the meaning is quite different. Red is quite an auspicious colour associated with festivals. At Chinese new year, elders give children gifts of money in red envelopes so the colour has quite a different meaning altogether.

Colour elicits behaviour

So if you want more people to click a button on your website, to subscribe or buy some goods, what colour do you choose? You might intuitively think that green is the right colour, because green means ‘go’ in many countries because of the association with traffic lights.

If you think this way, you’d be wrong. Independent testing of the same web page with a red button and a green button shows that the red button is chosen 2/3 more often than the green equivalent.

Why? Because red is a vibrant, more visible colour, and associated with passion and action.

The psychology of colour

Colour has a powerful way of evoking emotion.  Colours like green can make you feel peaceful and healthy.  Yellow is a friendly colour, while orange is quite energetic.  Here’s a list of the primary colours and the emotions that can be attached:

RED – Passion, Vibrant, Stimulating

PINK – Calm, Love, Feminine

PURPLE – Success, Wisdom, Royalty

ORANGE – Energy, Enthusiasm, Fun

YELLOW – Friendly, Cheer, Warmth

BROWN – Down to earth, Simple, Dependable

GREEN – Nature, Health, Peace

BLACK – Exclusive, Prestige, Luxury

WHITE – Innocence, Purity, Practical

BLUE – Trustworthy, Secure, Responsible

Now take a look at some of the most common worldwide brands and consider the emotions and subliminal messages they could be trying to communicate to you through the careful use of colour.

Now you understand a bit more about colour, how is this going to influence your website design?

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