The Power of Color in Mobile Apps

Color does not add a pleasant quality to design – it reinforces it – Pierre Bonnard

Think of any item around you and try to describe it in three words. For example, let us talk about the mobile phone that you are using to read this article. You are likely to mention the brand name and model, color, and size of the phone when describing it to your friend.

Colour is one of the most important elements of design and adds to the efficiency of a product. If a mobile application feels too bright or loud, the chances are that the users will not spend enough time on it. Similarly, if an app looks boring and dull, users will not want to open it again. Colors are the main component of aesthetical appeals; therefore, must be chosen conscientiously.

This article explores some tips and tricks to choose the right colors for the proper functions.

Know the Impact of Different Colors

Every color has a different impact on the mind and body. For example, one is likely to feel relaxed in a green room while anxious in a yellow one. Some colors, like blue, suppress your appetite and it is recommended to avoid using blue in restaurants. Some colors increase blood pressure, and some get you excited. All designers and developers should understand the color psychology to develop user-friendly applications.

Colors are divided into two basic categories; warm and cool. Warm colors spark a range of emotions such as warmth, comfort, anger, and hostility while cool colors spark calmness and sometimes sadness. Warm colors like red, orange and yellow reflect more light, spark appetite and can be irritating. On the contrary, cool colors help in creativity and are an excellent choice for apps which require one to use their cognition. Cool colors are often preferred for mobile apps because they create a peaceful aura, foster patience and are pleasant on the retina.

  • White offers a sense of space and neutrality. It highlights purity and sometimes mourning
  • Black is all about authority, power, intelligence, and strength
  • Red reflects energy, romance, warmth, and life
  • Yellow shows anger, frustration, optimism, and laughter
  • Green is all about health, tranquillity, fertility, and growth
  • Blue reflects wisdom, loyalty, truth, and serenity

The understanding of different colors allows you to use them efficiently. For example, you may use a brighter color like red to draw attention while using a relatively subtle color like grey on areas that do not require the focus of the user.

Get Familiar with the Color Wheel

Once you know the impact of different colors, it’s time to learn when and how to use the colors. There are hundreds of colors and millions of color combinations and deciding on one can be overwhelming.

Instead of spending days trying different colors to choose which one looks best, get familiar with the color wheel.

Get Familiar with the Color Wheel

The color wheel helps designers in choosing colors that are contrasting, related or from the same family. For example, if you want to add something similar to red but just not as bright, you’d look at the right and left of red on the wheel and choose a color.

Carefully Experiment with Colors

It takes some time before you get a grip on the color schemes and can choose colors effortlessly. With experience, you will unconsciously know which colors would look aesthetically appealing together, which color combinations would be too bright or too dull. Meanwhile, you may want to benefit from some known color patterns.

Monochrome never goes out of fashion. Mobile applications that use simple color schemes look well-organized and cleaner. They are easier to navigate and have a rather soothing effect on the mind. The designer may use different colors from the same base color to create a monochromatic effect.

Carefully Experiment with Colors

However, sometimes it is essential to use a range of colors to create the desired effects. It allows users to focus on the dominant color, supported by other subtle colors. This scheme is called the analogous color scheme which utilizes related colors. Look at the color wheel. The colors on the sides of your chosen dominant color are the associated colors. For example, the related shades of red are orange and pink. Determining the frequency of the related colors can, however, be challenging.

Experiment with Colors

If you feel the need to play with colors, then try using complementary colors. Shades that are opposite to each are complementary colors. They are perfect to grab attention. However, using two dominant colors together can be heavy on the retina.

Red is often used to grab attention, as shown in the screenshot above. When scrolling through the phone, one develops the urge to open the application and check the notification. The contrasting colors can be used to direct users towards specific actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’

Designing for Color Blind

Out of 100 uses, eight our blind. This means that 8% of the people see your application differently. It is important to understand color blindness to design flexible application. The most common type of color blindness mixes green or red as part of the background color or full color. People will such disorders confuse blue and purple, as the redness of purple is ignored. Some people cannot differentiate between yellow and blue.

Designing for Color Blind

It is vital to develop designs that effectively communicate to all the audience. One method to use symbols for sensitive colors such as green, red and blue. Red is used for showing errors in most of the applications, for example, a mistake when filling a form. People with color blindness will not be able to see the red outline. Instead, using an icon or symbol with indicate an error.

Similarly, avoiding sensitive colors can be helpful. Mark Zuckerberg is blind to red and green; therefore, Facebook is all white and blue.

facebook on mobile old facebook

Colors play a significant role in the acceptance of mobile applications. It is important to use colors that are aesthetically pleasing and carefully chosen for the right action.

Happy designing!

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