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Revision as of 13:45, 19 November 2007 by SannaH (Talk | contribs)

Colors in User Interface

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The amount of colors used in a user interface should be kept within reason. With colors less is more. When designing colors for user interface you should also think of other aspects of colors. Almost 10% of males have some kind of color vision deficiency. So coding only with colors might not be a good idea. Maybe it would be a good idea to design the UI in black and white or at least try that it works without colors! Colors are also culture related. Different cultures have different meanings for colors. For example, green is associated with heaven (Muslims) and luck (U.S. and Ireland) [].

Colors can be used to get viewers attention. But you should be careful with that. If there is too much color to be noticed it won’t do what it’s supposed to do anymore. The information that needs attention gets lost. Fortunately you can catch the viewer’s attention with shapes, too, for example. A round shape among rectangulars will be noticed. You shouldn’t rely on color coding only, because not everybody can distinguish all colors. Using shape coding might be a nice addition.

Human mind has a way of connecting things that are alike. Things that are coloured with the same color or that are the same shape are easily associated. That’s why you should be consistent with the coloring and using different shapes. Use blue for links, black for other parts of text and red for important information and add shapes, underlinings etc. to inform that there is something special there.

Cold colors (blue, green and purple) seem to be futher away from the viewer than warm colors (red, yellow and orange). That’s why they should be used as background colors. Text should be written with a color that distinguishes from the background. So, yellow text on white background can be stated a bad idea. You might see the text but reading it is very energy consuming.

Colors have many roles in a user interface, for example to get attention and to make the UI more vivid. The most important role is making the UI into a harmonic whole. That can be achieved by careful design.

More information about colors can be found from [].

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