When I was 18, I applied to join the army and found out I was colour blind.
Nothing dramatic. I found it difficult to distinguish between darker shades of colour. For example dark grey can often appear to be black and deep blues can appear purple. Web safe colours are a bonus for me because I know I'm not looking at a made up shade and all the colours are the same whichever device I'm viewing the page on.
What Is A Websafe Colour?
The colour palette is made up of 256 colours and determined by a mathematical formula. The relationship between the number of colours in the palette and the number of colours an old computer monitor can display – 256 is, of course, no accident.
From those 256 colours, only 216 will display in the same way across all browser and computer platforms.
The remaining forty colours are “dithered” and depend on the graphics card and browser combination to render them on a screen which is why the output can vary across devices.
If you want to be sure that your website will display in the same colour whatever display it is viewed on you should stick to the 216 web safe colours.
Choosing Colours For Your eCommerce Website
The colours you choose for your website will have a significant impact on its performance and contribute greatly to benchmark factors like bounce rate and conversion so getting this right is a worthwhile time investment.
As we grow up, we are programmed to make associations between colour and actions. At its most basic level red means danger and green mean success or “go”. How you use colour determines how your website will be perceived.
Some Examples Of Colour Use
Brown is the colour of the earth and wood. It is a relaxing and natural colour. Brown is a great colour for walking boot stores, outdoor lifestyle activities like camping and hiking and rustic foods.
Black should be avoided as your primary colour as overuse can give a feeling of oppressiveness. It is a great colour to use in accents or to offset other colours. Black is a great colour to use a logo as it is offset by a white background.
Blue is one of the most popular colours throughout the world regardless of religion or race. It is often used to symbolise communication, and deep blues convey trust and authority.
Gray is often used by technology companies and is associated with precision and control.
Green is a great colour for many websites because of it's passive nature. You can use green on outdoor websites, gaming websites, in fact, anything that indicates movement and activity.
Orange is most peoples least favourite colour, and you should avoid using it unless you specifically know the type of creative message you want to convey. It is associated with originality and is an attention grabber.
Pink is the go-to colour for any feminine website and is great for clothing and dating websites.
Yellow is the first colour that hits the retina as the eye processes information, and for that reason, too much yellow can be a real turn off. Used sparingly or as an accent colour yellow conveys playfulness and would be a great colour for children's websites.
And lastly Red
Red is known as a buying colour and is an attention grabber. Think high street sales. However too much red can signal danger, and for that reason, it is best used as an accent colour and not the main background colour.
How Colour Affects Conversions
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Source: How Colours Affect Conversions – Infographic
How To Pick Colour Combinations
If like me you are pretty rubbish at colours then the best thing to do is to look at some of the websites that specialise in providing hex code colour wheels.
These sites provide colour palettes based on Triadic colours, monochromatic colours and similar colours.
http://www.color-hex.com will give you a list of colours which you can pick from and also has some inspirational user-contributed colour palettes.
Following some simple style rules will ensure you pick the right colour combination for the type of audience you are designing for.
In many instances, colour design is made simple for you by purchasing a template from one of the theme stores and modifying the style to suit your product leaving the colours intact.
This will ensure you get a highly polished design and a beautiful looking website.
If in doubt always stick to the 216 websafe colours.