Color Psychology – Brilliant Helping Hand in UX Design
I often wondered why people would ask me about my favourite colour. Potential dates, kids, friends everyone seemed to consider something so petty a vital deal. I have even heard people treating colours as their sun signs. Predicting future compatibility based on your colour preference may sound childish. But it may all not be as wrong as you may be expecting it to be.
What is also interesting to note in terms of UX design is the fact the average attention span for a human being, today is about 8 seconds. Interestingly your goldfish has a longer attention span. This points to one essential thing, looks matter! Especially, when it comes to designing a user-friendly website that attracts a large audience, aesthetics play a major role in determining the scope of the website. Hence in this article we will try to take a closer look at some of the reasons that make colour important in UX design.
Impact of colours on your mind-Is it factual?
Our mind is a mysterious body part. Even after years of research, we are still not aware of the prognosis of several mental illnesses. From the limited knowledge we have on this body part, it has been known that colours indeed affect us both physiologically and psychologically. The mechanism of how our brain perceives what we see is known. On viewing an object although the main role is played by the organ of sight i.e. the eyes, yet there is a larger role to be played by the brain. The brain perceives the images. And the area of the brain that is responsible for sensing these images is the hypothalamus. Surprisingly this area also controls many aspects of the body’s self-regulation, including sleep, temperature, hunger and circadian rhythms. This proves that colours indeed have a deeper impact on us than previously assumed.
It’s also vital to understand what colours are? They are a kind of energy. This energy can affect our body’s functioning as already stated and also affects our emotions. Image of any object is transmitted by eye cells known as cones. These cells get stimulated and send a signal to the visual cortex of the brain where the image is formed(there are two regions of the brain associated). Hence, confirming the dual effects of colours.
This means just as a lack of sleep can make us all cranky and irate so can colours change our moods, appetite and even sleep. Examples of colours affecting us emotionally, can be seen in seasonal affective disorder which is a mood disorder due to exposure to lesser sunlight. This has also been of use in prisons where the light is made dim to purposely torture the criminals. An example of how colours affect us physiologically is evident from the lack of sleep observed due to long exposure to blue light emitted from gadgets.
There are more studies underway to determine how deeply colours impact us. The UK has adopted a unique system to flood any room with coloured light of any wavelength. This step was taken to observe whether blue light would make people calmer and less impulsive.
Colours can also impact memory retention, creativity etc. Although, more studies are needed to confirm all such claims.
The impact of Color on Consumer Behavior
Given the current attention span of humans, it won’t be wrong to say that colours are one of the first aspects to be noticed. It has been known that consumers generally make an initial judgement of the character within the first 90 seconds. Colours also help customers to identify your product. The type of colour chosen can depict many unsaid traits of the company. For example, dental hygiene brands use white and blue colours. White emphasises on purity while blue is associated with cleanliness. Yellow, can similarly be associated with sunshine and optimism. As a company, you also need to know what target audience you want to capture. There are differences in colour preference among age groups, gender and cultures.
Each brand has it’s own preferred age group. And most colours can also be divided based on the age and phase of life the consumer is in. For example, according to studies, yellow is liked only in the childhood. Whereas, blue is preferred amongst all age groups. As people turn older they prefer colours of shorter wavelengths such as blue, green and violet as compared to longer wavelength ones such as red, yellow, orange. Although most people prefer energetic and vibrant colours, aged people find them repulsive. Hence if you want to reach out to everyone irrespective of their age group you should be cautious while choosing bright colours.
Contrary to the popular belief that men like blue and women like pink, studies have not found any conclusive results. As a thumb rule, women prefer softer shades while men prefer brighter ones. Both men and women like blue and green and purple repels men.
All cultures are unique. Each of them have their own rules associated to good luck and bad luck. In the west, white is associated with aspiration, innocence, chastity, and hope the same is not the case in Asia where white is associated with death and mourning. The same is the case with the colour black, the western world links it to death and suffering while in other places it is linked with luxury and class. Hence when it comes to making a UX design for a worldwide audience, an informed choice has to be made.
Concluding words on UX design and colour psychology
Colours certainly do more than give aesthetic appeal to a brand. They mould the consumers mind to opt-in or out of the brand. Other than this it also gives your brand an identity to associate with. The UX design should also serve the vital function of informing consumers where to look, this can be catalysed by choosing appropriate colours. The UX design should garb maximum user attention by enhancing visual aspects.