Many web designers overlook the importance of color when designing a web site. Color should be one of the first concerns when it comes time to start the web site design. Pay close attention to the colors you chose, the site will end up either plain or boring; it’s hard to look at. The color should only be chosen after careful consideration. Unfortunately web browsers see only 256 colors. Even that number is hindered because all browsers don’t share the same 256-color pallet. Currently web browsers only share 216 common colors. When designing key elements in web site keep in mind to stay within the 216-color pallet.
Once you go outside the 216 color pallet you start to use colors that do not exist within that browser. The browser has to mix the colors that do not exist. In order for the browser to display the color, it needs to take tiny dots from the colors native to that browser to come up with an approximate color. This is known as dithering. Some displays will distort the tiny dots to the point where the image is so speckled that it does not appear to be a solid color. This makes text very hard to read if it is placed over the dithered color. Always use a browser safe color when using solid color as a design element. Some of the browser safe colors should be used with caution though.
Have you noticed that caution signs are usually yellow? Pure yellow strains the eye more than any other color because of that, it is the first color the eye will fix on. Using these colors for banners and advertisements will receive more attention from the viewer’s eye. Once the visitor visit the site there is really no reason you should irritate the visitor with bright colors. Use yellow and red colors sparingly in the web site itself. Only use them in areas where the visitors focus on. Do not make large parts of the web site with bright color. It might get the visitors attention but they will either consciously or subconsciously notice their eyes getting fatigued. This will make them not want to look at the web site for long periods of time. There are enough reasons why a visitor would leave the web site.
Users always want to know if they already visited a page. It is very frustrating to click on a link to bring back to a page that the visitor has just visited. The pioneers of the web made unvisited links blue, considering blue is harder to read then red or black, but they did and now it’s the standard. For the navigation to work well use blue for unvisited and purple for visited as a color scheme. Using other colors will just confuse people.
A good web site design should keep the viewer interested. It should also have a natural flow to it. A web site design should not be to confusing nor should it be too simple. There is a good deal to say about a simple site design but the truth is many visitors will equate a simple web site design equals a small company.
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