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Web Psychology
by Terry Young



How color can affect your visitors



A recurring question we have been asked over the last ten years has been 'Why do professional web sites seem to look the same?' Believe it or not, that is no coincidence, nor is it a lack of imagination on the part of designers. There are many
scientific reasons for web site uniformity.



In non-verbal communication, color and shape are immediate ways of getting a meaning across.

Most modern color aesthetics have evolved from times when these identified how useful, edible or dangerous an object was. For example, if something has yellow and black stripes, most people would immediately be on alert.

As with any advertising medium, understanding how color and shape subconsciously affect the viewer is crucial if the aim of the advertising is to be effective. When design is targeted at the web, there is a a great deal of color psychology that comes into play, even though on screen there are almost no color limitations.

If you are a corporate business, maybe dealing with money, your web site and logo should utilize colors symbolizing seriousness, authority, trust and security. Such colors are blues, blacks and grays.

A health entity, such as a hospital, would best use pale greens and blues, these denote health, calm, efficiency and cleanliness.

Companies dealing with nature, such as a garden center or landscaping company, would use mostly greens and browns, as these denote the environment, nature, earthiness.

A florist, on the other hand, sells colorful, natural products, and would best use any pastel color found in most flowers. Yellows, pinks, purples and oranges would be ideal. Obviously, colors like blue would not be good, as flowers aren't usually blue.

When it comes to making web sales, color schemes can definately help you reach your target audience. If you are primarily selling to women, such as beauty products, your best main colors would be purples and pinks, signifying femininity, spirituality, and sophistication. To sell something denoting high-action and outdoors the best colors are yellows, oranges, and reds.

One of the greatest problems with web sites is the lack of such planning. We regularly get reports from businesses who already have sites that are not reaching their lead or sales generation potential.
In most cases, this is because there was no color forethought, or that the designer became caught up in something trendy they saw on another site. Major examples of this are the many metallic, plastic or marble effect sites, even if the company has nothing to do with any of these.

One final comment about trendiness in business design. If you go with the latest trends in your sites style, colors and logos, it can make your company look like either it has only just started business, or that it is uncomfortable and continually feeling the need to try and find itself. If the trend has long passed, it makes you look dated, and not with the times.

Either way, unless you are in a fast-changing business field, trends may not help you establish a stable, reliable impression with your site visitors.




Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design. Since 1997,
his computer programming and graphic design knowledge have kept his company
at the forefront of the latest technology in web development.