In technical terms, colors are the way our brain interprets electromagnetic radiation of wavelengths between 350 and 750 nanometers, by use of our eyes. It plays an important role in the world we live in. It can have a positive as well as a negative effect. It can impact our way of thinking, change our actions and cause reactions, or can irritate or soothe our eyes.
Most color computers have a capacity for at least 256 colors, but only 216 colors are common to all computers. Newer computers are equipped with 64 thousand colors (16-bit) and the highest quality systems deliver 16.7 million colors (24-bit). However, approximately 10% of all computers are limited to 256 colors (8-bit).
Following is the Web-safe 216 color palette
The purpose of any Web page is to convey information. Thus, the use of colors should facilitate communication. Color should function successfully on several levels simultaneously. Firstly, on a technical level. The chosen colors should be supported by existing technology and at the same time one should pay heed to the rules of optics. Secondly, once a set of colors has caught and held the visitor's attention, they should succeed in conveying appropriate information. Thirdly, colors should function competently as the primary structural element in the Web page layout. It should create appropriate spatial and navigational effects on the page and the site as a whole. Fourthly, as the primary aesthetic tool, colors should create a sense of visual harmony, thus sustaining and enhancing the visitor's interest in the site.
The guidelines to use colors to create successful Web sites are as follows:
- Select the most appropriate color by analyzing the products and the target market.
- Use color to create the most functional user-interface design. For example, use color to direct the eye to the most important areas on the page. The Web designer should identify what the visitor should see first, where the eye should move next, and how much time the visitor's attention should be held by each area. Always keep colors to a minimum.
- Use color harmony principles to create a pleasant visual experience. In other words, all the colors of the navigation system, banners, buttons and text, as well as the images should all work well together.
Color is irreplaceable as a powerful form of communication. It matters and plays a pivotal role in all our visual experiences. The colors used for a product, web site, business card, or logo can cause powerful reactions. General research conducted in this field has revealed that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product based on color alone. These studies also revealed that color improves readership by 40 percent, learning from 55 to 78 percent and it also increases the brand recognition by up to 80 percent.