It’s possible that people have visited your website and come away with negative feelings because some of the content loaded too slowly.
If your site features online games, for example, there’s often a several-second wait while the game loads, even with a blazing-fast Internet connection. The same goes for downloading movies and videos. And don’t forget that some people actually lack access to broadband and still have to rely on dial-up or other slower methods of Internet access.
A recent report published by Radware says the median page of the top 500 US retail websites takes 10 seconds to load. Ten seconds! (Yes, I was surprised too.)
How can color help?
Researchers have known for some time that you can actually decrease perceived wait times by using more relaxing colors. So while you can’t really speed up the loading time of your site by changing its color, you can make your users believe you have. Crazy, huh?
Choose the right color
Let’s take a look at the three main dimensions of color: hue, chroma, and brightness.
Hue is what usually comes to mind when we think of different colors: blue, red, yellow, etc. A large body of research has shown that blue is a more calming hue than red or yellow. Red, in particular, elicits excitement, which is very useful in some situations, but when you want to make a download feel quicker, blue is the color to choose as the main color for your page.
Chroma is a measure of the pigmentation or saturation of a color. High-chroma colors appear more intense and vivid than low-chroma colors. So, as you might guess, high-chroma colors generate more excitement, but low-chroma colors relax viewers and are likely better options for download pages.
Bightness or value is the tint that a color seems to have. Low-value colors look like they’ve been mixed with black, whereas high-value colors look like they’ve been mixed with white. We sometimes call high-value colors “pastels.” This won’t come as much of a shock, but research has indicated that high-value colors elicit more relaxing feelings. And, this translates into a very significant impact on perceived speed. Of all the variables tested, brightness seems to have the most impact.
An additional benefit
All in all, there’s compelling evidence that certain colors induce relaxation and that relaxation makes download times seem shorter. But the conclusions go even beyond that:
Researchers have also shown that color-induced relaxation has a direct effect on consumer attitudes toward your website as a whole. If viewers are relaxed, they’re more inclined to like your website and recommend it to others; research even suggests that they might be more willing to make a purchase.
Give it a try
Remember, though, these are just guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. You can choose a low-chroma, high-value shade of blue for your download page, or you can use whatever other color feels right to you.