In this article, we outline what are the colour trends that will influence the user experience. Also discussing Colour and User Experience Trends to Elevate Your Designs, let’s jump in and check them out!
The impact of colour is critical to creating a palette that provides a smooth user experience and stimulates the user to follow the desired action. Colours have numerous meanings and can function as a pivotal component to cause psychological effects on the usability of digital products, as much as language, for example.
At first glance, users think that colours are considered a purely aesthetic choice by some professionals but its much more than that and, in the last few years, we were able to see some trends popping up in the UI/UX and colour selection universe.
The first impression a user receives from your site depends on many factors: structure, spacing, fonts and, of course, the colours and their combinations displayed on your page. Although we tend to consider colour as a physical object, it is a psychological phenomenon.
Humans associate certain colours with specific feelings or events is partly the result of evolution. For example, few people choose ‘brown’ as a favourite colour because of its association with the negative, ‘filthy’ and ‘ugly’ side.
According to several academic studies, it only takes a few seconds for us to form a first impression and consumers are heavily influenced by colours when shopping. Recent research published in the Psychology and Marketing Journal shows that when retailers present only one price in red, consumers perceive lower savings.
In the online world, it’s no different, websites’ colour heavily influences users’ perceptions and actions.
When creating a website, usability and aesthetics are undoubtedly crucial elements to consider, but creating a beautiful and easy to navigate website is not enough to achieve a high conversion rate.
Colour coding plays an essential role in defining your website for success. In general, websites display neutral and main colours. Neutral colours such as black, white and grey are usually used for the background, while brighter colours are used for details and other elements.
Sites and apps with a suitable colour palette arouse the user’s automatic attraction – something flows naturally and smoothly – often by complementing the structure and hierarchy of an interface, or by associations to the real world, providing a pleasant experience.
On the other hand, an inappropriate choice of colours negatively influences the user experience and can even render the interaction meaningless.
Despite being a complex topic and with many subtle points, there are certain aspects of colours in web design that can be treated on a broader level. Elements such as cultural variations in the meanings of colours and function of the application or website are examples of very straightforward basic concepts for designers to apply in their work.
Just a Quick Recap
The symbology of colours is fundamental in marketing to convey different sensations when creating websites, online stores, brands and any other material that represents a point of contact between a company and the public.
Colour has the power of attracting your brand, stimulating buying in your store, transmitting reliability on your website, countless influences and decision factors for your business to gain recognition and differentiation in the market.
Warm Colour: Variations in the red area of the colour spectrum are known as warm colours and include red, orange and yellow. Red, for example, is capable of provoking strong reactions, indicating alertness, danger or passion.
Orange: a very energetic colour, is associated with creativity, adventure, youth and can also evoke a retro feeling, due to the strong ties with the style of the 1970s.
Yellow: is a cheerful and optimistic colour, used in more neutral tones for designs, related to children’s themes, brighter shades in creative designs, or darker shades associated with wealth.
Cold Colours: like blue, green, indigo and violet refer to the stillness, sweetness, contemplation and different shades of these mental pictures. Green has some varied associations such as environmentalism and nature, or even wealth and tradition (in darker tones).
Blue: is the most universally “accepted” colour, which may explain why so many companies choose shades of blue for their brand. Bright blues appear associated with communication, while other tones often refer to loyalty, trust and professionalism.
Purple: for a long time, was a colour associated with royalty, with varied meanings that can also evoke mystery and spirituality.
Black: can suggest sophistication and luxury. Depending on the other colours used together, black can look modern or traditional, formal or casual.
White: is linked to innocence and positivity and is widely used in minimalist designs due to its neutrality. Like black, white quickly takes on the characteristics of other colours with which it meets.
Grey Colour: has different meanings, depending on the context. It can be conservative and sophisticated or designate emotions.
The psychology of colour can’t be considered just by the theory with which it is usually associated – the colour is also an artistic expression.
Therefore, a colour can be perceived in other ways, allowing different combinations, changing the exact hue or varying the way it is used among other elements of web design.
Here are some colour trends that have been growing in the digital world.
Saturated colours are considered dynamic, flashy and exciting, which is why they are commonly used for links, alerts, messaging systems and buttons.
Experimental research done by a Swiss University about design factors and subjective aesthetics shows websites with medium and high saturation received the highest aesthetic ratings, for example.
Desaturated dark and light colours are often used for panels, backgrounds and menus. The main reason is that they do not attract attention and do not interrupt the concentration of users.
Sites and apps with simple colour blocks are apparently acceptable, but even a slight gradual shading helps make them more formal. This is mostly accurate when it comes to interfaces where luxurious and more complex colours suggest a higher quality than those designed by an amateur.
In recent years, more designers have adopted colour grading. Even if only one colour is used, it can create a layered structure with the help of different gradients and images, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing experience.
Here are some tips on how to incorporate gradients:
- It can be used in the background or on website elements, such as icons, buttons, etc;
- Use pairs of colours that work effectively. A gradient will disappear between two colours that generally go well together. For example, faded orange with yellow is natural, while faded orange with green doesn’t match harmoniously;
- Use colours of different values. Using two or more colours of the same hue and equal saturation could ruin the illusion of distance and depth;
- Place dark colours on the bottom and bright colours on the top to improve contrast and look natural;
Sites and apps are apparently more comfortable to use if the right colours are chosen. Colours can be used to separate and highlight different sections, categories and functions.
Eye-catching colours can indicate high priority functions, and neutral colours can indicate lower priority functions.
Colour can also be used to suggest the danger of a function, such as using red to close an account or deleting something from the site, and using green to suggest adding something or free access.
For example, a content management system may highlight the “delete” button for widgets with a red colour. The “add” button can be highlighted for widgets with blue or green colours.
Although some colours are universal in design, such as black, white and grey, hues with which they are combined can create better experiences.
A well-designed colour palette, especially one that includes some unexpected shades, is not just an aesthetic choice – it can have significant psychological effects on users.
But this is only a small part of a more giant puzzle that is the design of a website or application and its subsequent usability.
Much more than an aesthetic issue, colours serve to communicate values and influence actions. To provide an excellent online user experience, colour selection and placement needs to be aligned with the brand segment, differentiate itself from the competition, adapt to the target audience, enabling a set of colours that attract the user’s interest and stimulate the desired action.
Are there any trends in colour selection and user experience that we don’t list here? Let us know in the comment section below.
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Gabriela Damaceno is a journalist and digital content specialist at Evolve Skateboards. When out of the office, she spends time outdoors, riding an electric skateboard, always looking for the new funky cafes in town.