When it comes to conversion rate optimisation, we spend a lot of time worrying about calls to action, navigation, copy, loading times and responsive design. We pore over heatmaps and we agonise over words, but how much attention do we give to colours? Do you care what your Ebay store design template uses? If not, perhaps you should!
The Psychology of Colour
It’s well known that some colours can have an impact on your mood. Interior designers spend a lot of time and effort thinking about that sort of thing. What we see on a screen, however, is not the same as what we surround ourselves with.
When we engage with websites, we are scrolling through them quite quickly. This means that the way we think is different. We are more likely to skip over things that blend into the page, and if something attracts our attention, we will click on it. That’s why sometimes badly designed pages such as Ling’s Cars convert so well. They scream out for attention, so they get it.
Which Colours Should You Choose?
So, next time you’re looking at templates by frooition.com or your favourite designer, spare a thought for the colours they use. Red can be a colour used for a warning – or to signal success and dominance. Green can attract attention, but it doesn’t always mean go. Blue and orange have their place if you are aiming for contrast. It’s really not as simple as “Green means go and red means stop”.
Take advantage of A/B testing, or at the very least use analytics to compare results between long-term trials of different designs. In general, red buttons work well for calls to action, and any clearly contrasting header will do a good job of conveying information. Use whitespace to make it easier for the eye to follow what is happening on the page, and keep flashing banners and animations to a minimum. Let the things that you really want people to notice be the things that shine, by default.
Of course, there are exceptions to colour schemes. Sometimes, it’s OK to break the rules if it fits with the brand of the site or the target audience you are going for. Use your knowledge of your customers, and test ideas out if you think they will work!