Website Optimization: 5 mistakes marketers and designers make with color
Webpage designers often overlook the element of color and the role it plays in a site’s performance. In fairness, it’s often not completely their fault.
“Most of us don’t know how to use the elements on the page to control the eyes so that the eyes go across a set of visual cues that are synchronized with the ideal sequence of thoughts.” – Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS
Smaller business owners may not have the experience to design and test on their site or a large budget to hire experts. Even many larger organizations find themselves in a company-logic entrapment in which their Web design’s color scheme is dictated by executive decisions with no regard for the analytics screaming otherwise.
Today’s MarketingExperiments blog post will share the five common mistakes designers make with color, from one of our recent Web clinics, which you might find helpful depending on your design situation.
However, before we explore those mistakes, some transferrable key principles are needed to understand why color affects conversion:
- Marketers should not try to optimize Web designs; they should optimize thought sequences. Yet often, our webpage design is NOT created with intention of guiding the visitor through a clear sequence of thought.
- Primarily, five design elements enable a marketer to guide visitors through a conversion process.
“Each of these elements draws its power from the principle of relevance,” Flint said.
In other words, the strength of each of these elements — color, for example — is relative to the influence that the other elements have on it. The five design elements include:
- Of the five elements, color is likely the most overlooked and misused.
Now we’re ready for a look at common mistakes designer make with color …
Also, to help you get the information you need faster, the links below will start the Web clinic replay at the beginning of each mistake segment.
Mistake #1: Wrong Emphasis – Colors can be used to guide thinking by placing stronger emphasis on particular elements and less on others.
If you need to learn more on testing color emphasis, this section of the Web clinic will show you how one organization increased its clickthrough rate 81% by strengthening the communication of its value proposition using color, copy and layout changes.
Mistake #2: Wrong Amount – The amount of color being used can be too much, resulting in the primary objective of your page getting lost in a sea of colors.
To help you overcome the wrong amount of color; this section of the Web clinic features an experiment that shows how a debt consolidation service increased its clickthrough rate 63% by changing the amount of color used to emphasize the call-to-action.
Mistake #3: Wrong Combination – When watching television, sometimes you change the contrast setting to improve picture quality. When webpages have discordant color schemes that hinder thought sequence, visitors don’t change a setting … they simply leave.
The experiment featured in this section of the clinic reveals how an art community offering subscriptions to content was able to increase its clickthrough rate nearly 20% by adjusting the contrast dial on its homepage.
Mistake #4: Wrong Message – When customers associate familiar brand colors with an implied value proposition, the performance of your page can be affected if you’re not testing to determine which colors are associated with your brand in the minds of your customers.
“Tests are designed to fill in the gap between what you know about the customer and what you SHOULD know about the customer,” Flint said.
Mistake # 5: Wrong Flow – Although you may have tested your way into the right color combination, placing the elements on the page in the wrong sequence puts the same problem of underperformance into a new package.
In the last section of the Web clinic, you can learn how a financial organization was able to increase conversion 51% by changing the color flow of page elements.
How Do Website Colors Impact Conversion? (Slides for this clinic via Slideshare)
MarketingExperiments Web Clinics (Learn more about our Web Clinics)
The 4 Most Startling Marketing Discoveries from 2012: Including the 3 words that changed everything for a top financial product – An invite to our next Web on Wednesday, December 12, 2012