Atlanta web design : Part IColor Theory - Choosing Your Website ColorsIs the choice of colors for your website and print materials more than just a matter of personalpreference? Does it really matter what color choices you make? Will your audience really feel differentlybecause of the color combinations? The answer to all these questions is Yes, Yes, and Yes!Color is considered emotional, because variations evoke different emotions in people. We all know thatgreen is the color of money, but did you also know that green can symbolize greed, envy, and jealousy?The colors you choose will have a direct effect on how the public perceives your company or product.This can be complicated by the fact that our use of color on the web is now limitless: technology allowsus to create millions of color combinations. So how do you choose? This brief article will make it simpleto understand the basics of choosing colors.It’s important to understand that every color has a positive and negative set of emotions associated withit, what I call the “color meaning”. It’s this meaning that will affect your customer’s emotional responseto your company, brand or product. So when choosing color schemes for your website, or any othermedia type, you need to make sure you’re presenting your company or product with a color that willmost likely entice the audience to choose your company or product.Take a quick break, and go look in your lunch room, refrigerator, or kitchen cabinets at the products wepurchase from the grocery store. What color do you see the most of? Chances are, you’re seeing red,and lots of it. Just glimpsing into my cabinets, now that I know I’m looking for it, I seem to be thrown into a world of red products. Chef Boyardee, Kellogg’s, Lipton, Carnation, Ragu, Aunt Jemima, Nestle,Betty Crocker, Orville Redenbacher’s, Heinz, Pam, all of these brands are jumping out at me with red intheir labels. Why? Red is a very “hot” color, and very emotional as well. In studies, red actually has aphysical effect on people, increasing their heart rate and causing blood pressure to rise. Red grabs ourattention, stirs us to action, and thus is a very powerful color for product packaging.All colors fit into three categories; cool, warm and neutral. While you can select all of your colors fromthe same category, it is often possible to achieve a more powerful effect by introducing a color from oneof the other groups. Let’s take a look now at how colors work together, and what each color may meanto the viewer.
Cool ColorsBlue, green, purple, turquoise and silver are cool colors. Cool colors tend to have a calming effect on theviewer. Used alone however, these colors can have a cold or impersonal feel, so when choosing coolcolors, it may be wise to add a color from another group to avoid this.Blue Color Meaning.Positive: tranquility, love, loyalty, security, trust, intelligenceNegative: coldness, fear, masculinityGreen Color Meaning.Positive: money, growth, fertility, freshness, healingNegative: envy, jealousy, guilt, disorderPurple Color Meaning. (purple is a combination of blue and red, so it is found in both the warm and coolcategories)Positive: royalty, nobility, spirituality, luxury, ambitionNegative: mystery, moodinessTurquoise Color Meaning.Positive: spiritual, healing, protection, sophisticatedNegative: envy, femininitySilver Color Meaning.Positive: glamorous, high tech, graceful, sleekNegative: dreamer, insincere
Warm ColorsRed, pink, yellow, orange, purple, and gold are warm colors. Warm colors tend to have an exciting effecton the viewer. However when these colors are used alone they can over-stimulate, generating emotionsof anger and violence. When choosing warm tones, adding colors from another group will help tobalance this.Red Color Meaning.Positive: love, energy, power, strength, passion, heatNegative: anger, danger, warning, impatiencePink Color Meaning.Positive: healthy, happy, feminine, compassion, sweet, playfulNegative: weakness, femininity, immaturityYellow Color Meaning.Positive: bright, energy, sun, creativity, intellect, happyNegative: coward, irresponsible, unstableOrange Color Meaning.Positive: courage, confidence, warmth, friendliness, successNegative: ignorance, sluggishness, superiorityPurple Color Meaning. (purple is found in both warm and cool colors)Positive: royalty, nobility, spirituality, luxury, ambitionNegative: mystery, moodinessGold Color Meaning.
Positive: wealth, prosperity, valuable, traditionalNegative: greed, dreamerNeutral ColorsBrown, tan, ivory, gray, black and white are neutral colors. Neutral colors are a great selection to mixwith a cool or warm palette. They are good for backgrounds in a design, and also tend to tone down theuse of other more overpowering colors. Black is added to create a darker “shade” of a primary color,while white is added to create a lighter “tint”.Black Color Meaning.Positive: protection, dramatic, serious, classy, formalityNegative: secrecy, death, evil, mysteryGray Color Meaning.Positive: security, reliability, intelligence, solid, conservativeNegative: gloomy, sad, conservativeBrown Color Meaning.Positive: friendly, earth, outdoors, longevity, conservativeNegative: dogmatic, conservativeTan (beige) Color Meaning.Positive: dependable, flexible, crisp, conservativeNegative: dull, boring, conservativeIvory Color Meaning.Positive: quiet, pleasantness, pureness, warmnessNegative: weak, unstable
White Color Meaning.Positive: goodness, innocence, purity, fresh, easy, cleanNegative: winter, cold, distantYou may be asking, “What is the right color combination for my business website?” While there is noabsolute “right” color for your website, you need to understand your target audience, and consider theirresponse to colors, not your own. If your end goal is for them to choose your company or product, thenyour color palette must appeal to them. There are overall factors that indicate what your audience mayor may not like.The basic target audience factors to consider are age differences, class differences, gender differencesand overall color trends.Age difference is a key factor that should not be ignored. If children and adolescents are your targetaudience, then they prefer bright, primary colors like red, blue, green and yellow. However, if yourtarget is older adults, they would prefer more muted or darker colors, along with colors from the neutralcolor group.Class difference is another key factor in choosing colors. United States research has shown those in theworking class prefer colors they can name like blue, red, green, etc. Those that are more educated tendto prefer more obscure colors like taupe, azure, celadon, salmon, etc.Gender preference is an obvious factor in choosing your colors. Men tend to prefer cool tones like bluesand greens, where women prefer warmer tones, reds and oranges. If you have an audience of both menand women, consider mixing some colors from the warm and cool palettes that would appeal to bothmen and women.Last but not least are color trends. By definition, a trend means “current style”. Choosing currentlypopular colors may work well for some types of websites and products, but if you want to presentlongevity and stability, then popular colors may not be the best direction for you. Instead, you may wantto consider more traditional colors that stand up over time.
Choosing color is more than just picking what feels good to you, it is about creating a response from theviewer. By knowing your target audience and the effect that different colors can have, you gain a greaterability to determine what colors will work best for your audience.One final note on color. Viewers on the web can use different monitors, different browsers, anddifferent operating systems. It is nearly impossible to ensure that your colors come across the same onevery computer as well as in print. Don’t be overly concerned with the differences on varyingcomputers, but do try to be consistent. Whether you’re creating a color palette for your company, abrand identity, or product colors, consistency is key. Use the same colors throughout all your marketingefforts to create familiarity with your company or product. Consistency will help instill trust with yourviewer.Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Atlanta web design : End of Part IColorImpact: Create Beautiful Color Schemes For Your Website With A Single Click!ColorImpact is an award winning software for creating harmonious color schemes. The program is basedon the color wheel used by artists for centuries. The artists use of complementary colors, or colorsopposite on the color wheel, creates an exciting painting.There are a lot of great tools in ColorImpact, such as Matching Colors Wheel, Color Variations, ColorBlender and Test Patterns. The Main Menu area is like a control center for this program and lets youexplore the color tools.
The color tools let you adjust colors in the palette in order to better suit your needs. For example, theColor Variations panel lets you add and modify variations to the colors in the color palette, while theColor Blender gives you the power to create intermediary colors between any two end colors.But the most useful tool for <b>niche website builders</b> is the Color Composer, that allows you toexperiment and see how your color schemes look when used on real web page designs.<b>Color Composer</b>The Color Composer is an advanced color scheme designer for web pages. The flexible user interfaceallows you to combine one of several html templates with a number of predefined and user definedcolor formulas or preselected colors.Want a quick set of pleasantly looking and harmonious colors for your new website? Simply launch theColor Composer and pick a Formula Base Color. The base color window pops up. It is a flexible colorpicker that gives you full control when selecting the base color.Pick the base color, and the Composer will instantly give you color suggestions for the following mainelements of a webpage: * Page Header: Background, Logo and Top Bar * Sidebar: Background, Heading, Heading Background, Menu Item and Menu Item Background * Content: Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, Text, Background * LinksPlay with it! Pick colors from the Base Color circle and see how good the Composer is in selecting thebest matches for webpage elements. When youre done, click File > Export Colors… and save you colorscheme as a CSS file.
<b>Creating a color scheme for your website has never been this easy!</b>Note: This review intentionally refers to an older version of the ColorImpact, known as ColorImpactClassic. Although, ColorImpact version 3 is available, in my opinion, the Color Composer in the Classicversion is easier to use and more intuitive. Moreover, the ColorImpact Classic costs $20 less.15-day trials are available for both versions of the program. The trials have no features disabled, so youcan take advantage of them all while testing it. ColorImpact has a well organized and intuitive userinterface and an extensive help documentation.ColorImpact website: http://www.tigercolor.com/Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Atlanta web design : End of Part IICommon Mistakes: Functional Web SpecificationIneffective functional specification for Web projects such as Web sites, Intranets or Portals contributelargely to delays, higher costs or in applications that do not match the expectations. Independent if theWeb site, Intranet or Portal is custom developed or built on packaged software such as Web-, enterprisecontent management or portal software, the functional specification sets the foundation for projectdelays and higher costs. To limit delays and unexpected investments during the development process,the following pitfalls should be avoided:<b>Too vague or incomplete functional specification:</b> This is the most common mistake thatcompanies do. Everything that is ambiguously or not specified at all, developers do not implement orimplement in a different way of what site owners want. This relates primarily to Web features that areconsidered as common user expectations. For example, HTML title tags, which are used to bookmarkWeb pages. The Web steering committee may specify that each page contains a page title, but does notspecify that HTML Title tags needs to be implemented as well. Web developers therefore may do not
implement HTML Title tags or implement them in a way, which differs from site owners visions. Thereare other examples such as error handling on online forms or the definition of ALT texts for images tocomply with the disability act section 508. These examples look like details but in practice, if developersneed to modify hundreds or even thousands of pages, it amounts to several man-days or even man-weeks. Especially, the corrections for images as business owners need first to define the image namesprior that Web developers can implement the ATL texts. Ambiguous functional specification can resultdue to the lack of internal or external missing usability skills. In this case, a one-day usability bestpractice workshop transfers the necessary or at least basic usability skills to the Web team. It isrecommended, even for companies that have usability skills or rely on the subcontractors skill set, thatan external and neutral consultant reviews the functional specification. Especially, as such reviews relateto marginal spending as compared to the total Web investments (e.g. about $10 K - $15 K dollars for areview).<b>Future site enhancement not identified or not communicated:</b> It is crucial that the Webcommittee identifies at least the major future site enhancements and communicates them to thedevelopment team. In the best case, the development team knows the roadmap for the coming threeyears. Such an approach allows the development team to anticipate implementation choices to hostfuture site enhancements. It is more cost effective on mid- or long-term to invest more in the beginningand to build a flexible solution. If Web teams do not know or even ignore future enhancements, the riskfor higher investment increases (e.g. adding new functionality in the future results in partially or atworst in totally rebuilding existing functionality). Looking at the financial delta for a flexible solutionversus a solution just satisfying the current requirements, the flexible solution has proven to be morecost-effective in practice from a mid- and long-term perspective. </p><b>Planned functionality not aligned with internal resources:</b> Many companies look at sitefunctionality only from a site visitor perspective (e.g. facilitation of searching information or performingtransaction) and corporate benefits (e.g. financial benefits of self-service features). However, there is athird dimension the impact of site functionality on internal resources. Site functionality that can heavilyimpact internal resources are for example:- Web sites: providing news, online recruitment, online support, etc.- Intranets / portals: providing content maintenance functionality for business managersIt is crucial for the success of site functionality that the Web committee analyzes the impact and takesactions to ensure operations of the planned functionality. For example, providing the contentmaintenance functionality to business owners and product mangers with an associated workflow. This
functionality is effective and can generate business benefits such as reduced time to market. However,in practice, business owners and product managers will need to write, validate, review, approve andretire content. This results in additional workload. If the Web committee has not defined in the Webgovernance (processes, policies, ownership and potentially enforcement), it may happen that thisfunctionality is not used and hence becomes useless.<b>Wish lists versus actual needs and business requirements:</b> The functional specification is notaligned with users needs or business requirements. This is more common for internal applications suchas Intranets or portals. In many cases, the project committee neglects to perform a sound internalsurvey and defines functionality by generalizing individual employees wishes without any sound proves.Capturing the feedback of internal users across the organization allows determining the criticalfunctionality. To effectively perform a survey a representative set of employees need to be questioned.Further these employees need to be categorized into profiles. The profiles need to be characterized byfor example, frequency of usage of the Intranet, estimated duration by visit, usage of the Intranet tofacilitate their daily tasks, contribution to the business, etc. Based on this information the Web team canthen prioritize the functionality and choose the most effective and relevant functionality for the nextrelease. Less critical or less important functionality may be part of future releases (roadmap) ordropped. If such a sound decision process is not performed, it may happen that functionality isdeveloped but only used by few users and the return of investment is not achieved.<b>Not enough visual supports or purely text based:</b> Textual description of Web applications can beinterpreted subjectively and hence leading to wrong expectations. To avoid setting wrong expectations,which may are only discovered during development or at worst at launch time, functional specificationneed to be complemented by visual supports (e.g. screenshots or at best HTML prototypes for homepages or any major navigation pages like sub-home pages for the major sections of the site such as forhuman resources, business units, finance, etc.). This allows reducing subjective interpretation and takinginto account the users feedback prior development. Such an approach helps setting the rightexpectations and to avoid any disappointments at the end once the new application is online.</p>We have observed these common mistakes, independently if companies have developed their Webapplications internally or subcontracted them to an external service provider.Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!