Color and Usability / User Experience

10 Jun 2011 - 3:31pm
5 years ago
1 reply
1976 reads
Karen Lindemann


I'm looking for a study or guidelines about how to use color to enhance the usability of a website or an application. For example: Is there a color for the call to action button which is the most recommendable? Is there anything regarding colors would should to avoid? What would you tell somebody who wants to know which influence has color for the usability of a website?

I would very much appreciate your input to these questions.

Thanks and best greetings, Karen


11 Jun 2011 - 1:38pm
Tania Schlatter

Hi Karen,

I'd be interested to know of any studies as well. Three things I keep in mind about color and usability when designing are:

1.  Make sure the colors are acceptable from an accessibility standpoint. The Visicheck plug in is pretty easy for this:

2. Use color to create appropriate contrast. It is not so much which color is used for what, but how color is used to create contrast and direct the eye. 

Pairs of complementary colors (opposites on the color wheel: red/green, blue/orange, yellow/purple) create the most visual contrast when used together. Blue/orange is a common color combination on the web. The original Blogger templates are a good example:

3. Use color to visually group like items. Netflix is a pretty good example - all the Add buttons are red, all the Play buttons are blue and the corresponding DVD and Instant tabs are red and blue, respectively.

Hope this helps,



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