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The Psychological Impact of Colours in Web Design

Jan 21, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jan 21, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Colours play a significant role in designing a website that is interactive. When visitors browse through a website, the first noticeable thing is the colours and how it makes the website attractive. In discussing web design, it refers to the backgrounds, logos, navigation, graphics and buttons the visitors encounter when they visit a web page (Adraina, para 2). According to Adraina, colours on a website are considered important because they deliver a message, affect the moods of the visitors, invoke feelings, and create a different set of ideas. Having the right colours on the website is critical to attaining high quality, professional site that is received well by viewers. In discussing the importance of colours in a website, the major areas of focus include; issues of colours in web design, colour psychology in web design, Trust and satisfaction of colours, colour and marketing among others. Colours in web design can influence people psychologically, is a significant determinant of both trust and satisfaction, and is a good marketing tool for a website.

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Issues of colours in webs design

In a website as far as colours are concerned, limiting its use on the screen is the good. For the children can be an exception since they enjoy the bright colours (Kurniawan and Panayiotis, 120). This is because the children find the bright colours exciting visually while the adults find the colour schemes distractive. Moreover, women compared to the men tend to prefer warmer and brighter colours. According to Kurniawan and Panayiotis, the colours for the background are a matter of preference. However, it is best to adopt black print and white background when there is a lot of reading on the screen. If that is also no acceptable, then the other colours that can work well include green, yellow, and blue (120).

Kurniawan and Panayiotis observed that the warm colours like green and red when used as background are troublesome since they are perceived to be moving to the user, hence should be avoided on the screen. Moreover, they should not be used in indicating states without secondary cue presence. This is because red-green are the most common colour blindness form, and anyone who is colour blind may have some problems in differentiating the colours. On the screen, either sound cues or positional cues could be used as secondary indicator (para 4).

Colour psychology in web design

Colours can influence people through change in psychology, and they are highly linked with certain meanings and emotions by viewers. According to Adriana, the main purpose of the website is selling something and getting the visitors interested, satisfy their need for information and make them come back. Since the seller and the buyer do not get a chance of meeting, the internet acts as a psychological and visual medium. The website has the biggest psychological impact on the visitor and is the most important tool for communication. Since the visitors see the graphics and the colours, choosing the right colours is very important, since they all have a psychological impact on the visitor to the website.

According to Adriana, it is crucial for the web designer to understand the colour psychology and the manner in which combination of certain colours influence the first impression of a visitor. Moreover, there are universal colour associations, personal colour schemes and others with cultural influences. Therefore, when deciding on the correct colour for a website, the question that need to be answered is the target audience. This is because certain cultures have different association and symbolism of colours, and this must be considered when creating specific audience. For instance, western culture portrays white as purity, and Russians portray red as a symbol of communism (para 6).

Colours are divided into two main categories that are the warm colours that are in the red colour spectrum area (yellow, orange, and red). The warm colours evoke emotions such as comfort, warm, aggression, cosiness, and anger. The other category is cool colours that are the colours found in the blue area (green, purple and blue).the cool colours has feelings from tranquillity, calmness, indifference and sadness (para 8).

Trust and satisfaction

Liraz stated that Colour is a significant determinant of both trust and satisfaction of a website. Colour has the potential of communicating meaning to the visitors or the users and influencing their perception through the priming effect (1).

The exposure of an individual to a stimulus influences the manner in which they respond to another stimulus. Similarly, an exposure to a particular colour influences the reaction often visitor towards the website in a carryover effect. This implies that the emotional reaction to a colour by an individual can be translated to a negative or positive interaction with the website (para 4).

The reaction people to colour are individualised as their experiences, and therefore it is hard to classify the response of the consumers to various individual colours. According to Liraz, the experiences of an individual affect the reaction of an individual towards a certain colour, hence cannot be translated universally t particular feelings. The reaction to colour by people is not absolute, and there is also no collective preference by people for one colour. The truth is that the perception of certain colours is that they are favoured across some situations, hence regarded to be more appropriate compared to others in a specific context (para 7).

Colour and Marketing

Many people put most significance on the visual factors when buying products. Moreover, many people make a subconscious judgement on an object or a person, product or environment within the first 90 seconds of initial viewing based on colour alone (Webdesigners, 1). Therefore, colour of the website is also important in marketing of a website.

The senses of human beings get excited by many things, of which one of them is the red colour that symbolise the excitement. Webdesigners stated that this is the main reason most fast food companies used red as their secondary or main colour, for instance, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Burger king among others (para 4).

Colours in a website is a good for marketing because they stimulate the senses, increase appetite, make people feel tranquil or warm. If the main intention of the website is to do marketing, then the website should be designed to encourage the visitors to take the step to press the subscribe button, the buy button or the follow button. According to Webdesigners, whatever the button is, it is important to note that whether people will click it or not will depend on how the website make them feel when they are on the website (para 4).

Webdesigners pointed out the most popular colours used in designing websites that will market the website and even leave the visitors feel deeply engaged, warmly welcomed and intrigued irresistibly.

Red– is the hottest colour and often associated with love. The red colour is such a dynamic and strong colour that makes a visitor feel passionate about something closely positioned around it. It is often seen in sales and clearance promotions, for instance in Pinterest (para 8).

Orange– is energising, warm, full of energy, friendly, and vibrant colour that invites people to take an action instead of making them feel forced or pushed. The orange colour is good for marketing since it encourages a call for action like subscribe, buy, follow or sell. Orange colour is recommended on the website if the main marketing purpose is to make the visitor feel cheerful, stimulated, full of enthusiasm, and creative, for instance in Amazon website (para 13).

Blue– this colour is mostly used by corporates and business as it makes the visitors on the website feel they are secure, dependent, safe and full of experience, for instance in Facebook. As a marketing tool, blue colour is used in a website if they care about the long term feeling of the visitors to their websites. Just as opposite of red, it calms the visitors down and do away with worries (para 18).

Green- this colour is mostly used as a marketing colour in web sites dealing with money such as Groupon or environmental things.It makes the visitor feel optimistic. Green is very relaxing and refreshing, leaving people with a feel inspired and balanced. It represents harmony and balance in design (para 23).

Purple– can be described using words like creativity, imagination, nobility, dignity and abundance and is used by Yahoo. It is related to romance, spring, wealth and creativity. As a marketing colour on the website, they are appropriate for lingerie, fashion and beauty products because purple colour soothes and warms more than any colour. Moreover, it considered to be romantic and feminine (para 28).


Colours are essential in a Webdesign as the navigational design and basic design of a website. Colours are used to attract attention, create the mood that prompt visitors to complete their actions on the website. The importance of colours in Web design influences the visitors psychologically, builds up trust and satisfaction, and is important in marketing the website to the visitors.


Adraina. “”Color Psychology in Web Design – Big Websites Case Studies – Pixel77.” Pixel77. 24 May 2011. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. http://www.pixel77.com/color-psychology-web-design-color-schemes-big-websites/.

Kurniawan, Sri, and Panayiotis Zaphiris. Advances in Universal Web Design and Evaluation: Research, Trends and Opportunities. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Pub, 2007. Internet resource. Retrieved from http://www.worldcat.org/title/advances-in-universal-web-design-and-evaluation-research-trends-and-opportunities/oclc/76806886&referer=brief_results

Liraz, Margalit”The Psychology of Color and Its Role in Web Design.” ClickTale. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. http://www.clicktale.com/research/psychology-color-and-its-role-web-design

Webdesigners.”Learn About Five Most Popular Colours Used In Web Design.” Digital Professionals 1stWebDesigner. 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/5-web-design-colours-visitors-click/>.

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