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Colour and user experience go hand in hand when we stop to consider the emotional response that each colour can evoke. As a web designer, you might have been in a situation where you’ve completed a perfectly functioning website that contains every feature the client asked for, only for them to be unhappy with it. In this article, we’ll discuss how colour selection isn’t as trivial as you might have previously thought.

Colour/Emotion Association

Whether we notice it or not, every colour has the ability to evoke a unique emotional response. A web designer would do well to recognise this and use different colour schemes to their advantage – depending on what they’re trying to sell.

Here is a brief list of colour psychology that contains positive and negative emotions:

  • Red: power, passion & love, but also anger.
  • Yellow: happiness, light & warmth, but also caution.
  • Pink: femininity & youth, but also embarrassment.
  • Green: growth, natural & freshness, but also envy.
  • Blue: serenity & trustworthiness, but also sadness.
  • Orange: stimulation & energy, but also cheapness.
  • Purple: luxury, romance & mystery, but also arrogance.

The Link Between Preference and Demographic

The importance of colour is prevalent when we look at how people from different demographics respond to the same colour. Gender and region are two major groups that evoke the biggest variation in response.

Men react well to websites that have a darker design, whereas the same can be said of lighter, more muted colours schemes when it comes to a positive female response. Men have a negative reaction to websites that use a traditionally ‘feminine’ design palette such as pink. And women have a negative reaction to dark and more saturated colours. It makes sense when we think of the traditional and societal differences between men and women.

You can’t go wrong with mid-tone palettes, as they are viewed as appealing to both genders.

Colour and Brand Recognition

The relationship between colour and user experience is at its most profound when we look at how established brands create immediate recognition, cultivating a strong bond with their customers through a specific colour.

The Coca-Cola Company is one of the world’s most recognisable brands, and the colour red has become synonymous with the company and its products. Their relationship with red is so strong that you don’t even have to see the logo to know that a red can is a Coke can.

Imagine a day where Coke was suddenly packaged in a colour other than red. The contents, despite being the same, might even taste different – such is the strength between the relationship of a brand and its colour.

The main takeaway from this is that colour tells the customer what the brand is about. Something as seemingly trivial as the wrong colour can have a huge impact on the user experience.

Use of Colours to Improve Accessibility

The most commonly used colours for buttons and CTAs on a website, regardless of niche, are red and orange. Why? Because they stand out.

Bright colours help guide the user through your sales funnel and are clearly visible on the background of any web page – regardless of colour. When we talk about user experience in the context of web design, what we mean is providing the user with smooth, hassle-free engagement – allowing them to get from A to B in the shortest time.

You should give the user options that are simple and easy to understand. A good colour selection is definitely a way to do this. Colour draws a user to the button and a bright one that is hard to miss, such as red or orange, will fulfill that role effectively.

Using Colour to Increase Conversion Rate

The beauty of A/B testing is that it gives us an immediate insight into the effectiveness of our marketing techniques. Designers often use A/B testing to check which specific elements of their design have a direct correlation on conversion rates. Image selection, the style of copy, font size and style and the design itself all contribute to conversion rate, and studies have shown that the colours we choose can also massively influence conversion rate.


When we consider all the effective design tools that we have at our disposal, it’s understandable that we underplay the effectiveness of a simple colour change. In reality, colour has the ability to impact the user experience on an emotional and a usability level. When the time comes for you to decide on your colour palette during the design phase, don’t make a random decision based on whatever you happen to prefer at the time. Research and testing can be done to maximize your brand’s potential.


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