Monday, December 10, 2007

Web Page Behavior With Color And Graphics

People frequently ask me about the format and appearance of their web site. Should they include their logo? What about using color? How much? What kinds of graphics should they use? All the research and advice I've seen recommends using quality, understandable color and graphics, except for those rare situations where the visitor explicitly forbids it.

There are several factors that contribute to a good web site page layout, legibility of the font, use of white space. But, two of the more important tools you can use are color and graphics.

Be careful not to offend! Color is important in the success of any web page. However, colors mean different things to different cultures. If your business deals with several different cultures, be sure to research the importance of colors and their meanings. This includes the colors of fonts, graphics and borders.

Research indicates that using color and graphics can increase the reader's motivation up to 80%, increases comprehension up to 73%, and sells products and ideas 55% to 85% more effectively. The reason why this works, is that some people learn more easily through graphics than they do through words. Some people, however, are skimmers, and graphics are more likely to slow down the skimming process so that they absorb the content.

To better understand what color and graphics to use on your web pages, learn the behavior of your audience - the visitor. Human behavior, is always the result of one or more of five basic needs or motivating forces. This theory is that until a lower-ranking need is satisfied there is no desire to pursue a higher ranking need.

Below are the five human motivators, beginning with the basic or lowest ranked need and continuing to the highest.

Physiological needs - Include hunger, thirst, reproduction, shelter, clothing, air and rest.

Safety-security - The need for security, stability, dependence, protection, structure, order, law, tenure, pension and insurance.

Love-belonging - The need for belonging, acceptance, love, affection, family and group acceptance and friendship.

Self-esteem - The need for recognition, respect, achievement, responsibility, prestige, independence, attention, importance and appreciation.

Self-actualization - The need for satisfaction, the desire to achieve fulfillment through reaching self-set individual goals or aspirations.

The web page designer will do well to become familiar with this theory of human motivation because it stresses, once again that motivation is always an individual act. The most your web page message can hope to do is to present an appeal strong enough to stimulate action toward satisfying one of the basic human needs.

If there is one rule that will be most helpful in preparing effective web page design for advertising, it is this The message must put the desire of the potential customer before the advertiser's desire. Please read that one more time! The rule may sound like a simple one to follow, but frequently graphics and messages take the form of a plea for customers to respond and solve the advertiser's problem.

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