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Dean Marsden

Colour Psychology and Website User Behaviour

2nd May 2011 SEO 2 minutes to read

The core feelings and emotions we experience from different colours is practically built into us, with a typical human upbringing we cannot change the way we perceive colours. We all have favourite tones and these usually reflect our personalities. It is for this exact reason that it is an all too common mistake to choose your favourite colours for your website design.
With colour psychology, you can affect the emotions and user behaviour of your website visitors.  Different colours can be used depending on what you want a user to feel. Below is rundown of the colour meanings:

Yellow

The colour of sunshine, it represents energy and is associated with joy and happiness. Yellow can stimulate the memory and nervous system, so it’s best used when user engagement and response is required.


Orange

Orange is a very hot colour and combines the two emotions of yellow and red. This means it can represent energy and ambition with happy feelings.  It’s best used to stimulate a strong desire for an outcome.


Red

Red is a very confident colour and emotionally intense. It raises blood pressure and forces an increased rate of decision. Use it to draw attention to something you really want a user to do, but only use it in small amounts.


Purple

Purple combines red and blue meaning it has a very powerful but calming presence. It is usually associated with royalty, wealth and prosperity. It can be used represent a high value action and encourages creative decision making.


Blue

Blue causes our bodies to produce calming chemicals, but it can sometimes create coldness and lack of energy. If you want to build trust, loyalty and intuition without being pushy, then use blue sporadically.


Green

Green is the colour of nature, it symbolises growth and freshness. It’s quite soothing and can relieve people of any depressions or anxiety they may have. If you have new or growing website and want to generate conversions from visitors who believe in supporting something new, use a green colour for actions and themes.


Black

Black is stable, strong and serious. As a solid colour it represents sombreness and emptiness, so should only be used as a neutral colour for text.

 

White

White is pure, clean and also neutral. Lots of white can create a feeling of perfection and simplicity. You should use it if you offer a professional, straightforward product or service. Be careful not to use it too much if you want to create some energy and passion, it is a very sterile colour.

If you are an established business, you will have your colour scheme already set, so be sure to follow your existing brand guidelines for the main colours, but choose carefully when it comes setting the colours of interactive elements. You can influence the user to take different types of actions depending on what you want them to achieve.

So for example, you could use a yellow button for a ‘make a donation’ action so that users feel warm and happy to give money.  Another situation would be to use a big, bright red button to influence users to make a fast, confident decision to buy.

Explore or even test different colours to see how they can affect your website users’ actions.

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