Tag: color

Did You Know Color Has A Lot To Do With It?

November 25th, 2013

color-wheel-combination-paletteWhen constructing an e-commerce website, website owners as well as architects should take into consideration the way color has an impact on the consumer.  There have been numerous studies done on this in the past few years, some are rather interesting.  This excerpt from a recent article discusses this study:

Colors as a Main Variable of the Atmosphere Associated With E-Commerce Websites

Color perception is a complex process in that it is more than a mere physiological or psychological fact. It is also formed by the consumer’s national culture, general education and socio-professional background. According to general psychological data (Fleury & Imbert, 1996) individuals are endowed with a physiological ability to perceive colors (Wright & Rainwater, 1962; Nakshian, 1964; Wilson, 1966; Jacobs & Suess, 1975; Kwallek et al., 1988).

Color has always been used by human beings as an aid to distinguish important information from unimportant or irrelevant information. It is essential in strategies of camouflage for example. It also aids an individual’s memory in many uses such as presenting information, assisting in education or even in the intention to purchase (Harrison, 2001).

Although color is a widely researched topic (Divard & Urien, 2001), to this day, very few studies focus on this topic within the context of the Internet. Research is limited to several studies about the impact of colors on Internet site readability providing advice about how to choose the most harmonious colors (Hill & Scharff, 1997; Hall & Hanna, 2004), while usability research experts, such as Nielsen (2000), make managerial recommendations. Coursaris et al. (2008) have studied the effects of color temperature and gender on perceptions of website aesthetics. Yet color is omnipresent in e-commerce websites. The components of atmospherics on e-commerce websites, quoted by respondents in a research study based on semi-structured interviews, included color as a pivotal variable (Lemoine, 2008). Generally speaking, it affects consumer behavior in compliance with Mehrabian and Russell’s psycho environmental model, the SOR model (Stimulus Organism Response) (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974).

Color contains three principal components (Trouve, 1999):

* Hue (or chromatic tonality), which is the attribute of the visual sensation defined according to the colors denominations such as blue, green, red etc.

* Saturation, which provides the proportion of chromatically pure color contained in the total sensation;

* Brightness, which corresponds to the component of an illuminated surface according to which the surface seems to emit more or less light.

To this day, the effects of the three-color components on the Internet have been but seldom documented. Gorn et al.’s (2004) work focusing on the impact of the three color components on downloading time perception, demonstrate that a lengthy waiting time influences the user’s appraisal of the Internet site and can lessen his/her desire to recommend it to others. Kiritani and Shirai (2003) show that the effects of screen background colors on time perception vary according to the tasks performed by Internet users. When reading a text written on a white, blue or green screen background, users have the feeling that time passes by more slowly. Pelet (2008, 2010) has shown the importance of considering chromatic colors vs. achromatic ones, taking into consideration the effects of the three color’s components: hue, brightness and saturation.

Papadopoulou, Panagiota, and Jean-Eric Pelet. “The effect of e-commerce websites’ colors on customer trust.” International Journal of E-Business Research 7.3 (2011): 1+

So what colors should you use?

Firstly, use colors that make sense.  For this website, for example, we used a green color scheme because it fits our topic and our brand name.  If we were to use a red or purple color scheme it would confuse users, and lead them to believe that we were perhaps not so serious about our commitment to green sustainability.

Think about your target market.  Expensive luxury items, you will note, use a more black and white and grey type color scheme.  Children’s toys and brands use a pastel or primary color palate with more colors.  Blue collar everyman type businesses such as Ford or Jeep (on the cusp of luxury and everyman) use a more blue and green palate.