Exploring The Use of Colors in Medical Web Design
Color has the power to attract or repel website viewers in an instant. The color scheme used for medical websites needs to evoke a sense of calm and trust to encourage potentially stressed readers to continue viewing the content. Using the wrong mix of colors could evoke a sense of panic or fear instead, causing the visitor to flee the site in search of a better option. By learning how to use color to your advantage, you can create aesthetically pleasing and mood enhancing web page designs for medical sites.
Cool Color Environments
The colors used to create healthcare websites need to reflect the mission and care standards of the doctor’s office, hospital or other medical centers in question. Research studies revealed that colors in the cool spectrum reminded visitors of a clean, restful and happy place. In a medical environment, even within the digital realm, it is common for many visitors to have strong anxious emotions linked to their own, or a loved one’s, ailing health. Promoting your visitors’ sense of wellbeing with calming cool colors can help replace these strong negative emotions with positive associations.
Positively perceived colors subconsciously tap into the health and wellbeing of the mind and body. Colors with a negative connotation, however, can continually grate on the nerves and impact the perception of both the site and the medical center it represents. Too much of the color red, for example, can evoke a sudden feeling of danger or panic. Viewing a web page doused in this color can even increase blood pressure and breathing rates. The color yellow, on the other hand, has a generally upbeat, cheerful appearance, but overuse can still feel disruptive to website viewers.
Cool green and blue tones that are associated with successful medical environments generally have positive emotional links. Green is a color that reminds site visitors of a link to natural phenomenon, such as growth & fertility, and harmony. At all saturation levels, green provides a sense of trust and confidence, which promotes a calm state of being. Blue tones provide feelings of stability and tranquility, as is often experienced while watching ocean waves crash ashore.
With the exception of the site text and navigational elements, black should be avoided for medical sites due to its association with fear of the unknown, death and grief. White has the opposite meaning and effect, so it is a safe bet as a background or emphasis color. White taps into feelings of safety, cleanliness and perfection.
To create a cohesive website for a medical practice, it is important to evoke balance and harmony by wisely pairing colors for the site’s color scheme. Carefully paired colors give the website immense visual appeal.
You will want to use a color wheel to find the analogous, complementary and triadic tonal matches for your main color scheme selections. If you wanted to construct an analogous color scheme, for example, you would select two to three tones that are right next to each other on the color wheel. Complementary color schemes feature tonnes directly opposite of each other to create a balanced appearance on each page. The points of an equilateral triangle help you find three tones that will create a harmonic triadic layout.
Once you find a suitable set of colors, remember to play around with saturation and hue for each one. Changing the tints and shades will help you create a truly unique color pairing and site design. You could even take a single color and use its various tints and shades to create a monochromatic scheme.
Do not underestimate the power of instilling ample whitespace in your website design. Open space acts as a design element to keep you from overusing your selected colors. By minimizing the use of your colors, you can boost their positive impact while diminishing the potential for the tones to elicit a negative response. Like brief moments of silence in speeches, whitespace can be strategically used for emphasis to bring attention to important elements on your web page.
The content on a medical website needs to remain easy to find and read at a moment’s notice. Visitors may want to skim the text to find the information they are looking for as quick as possible. The colors you select for your text and navigation elements will assist in this process.
Set up the site using the chosen colors, and then focus on finding a contrasting tone for the text. A high amount of contrast will ensure the text remains readable on any device. If the site has separate sections with a different color for each, you can change the text color to a suitable contrasting tone for each.
For sites with multiple tones in a single frame, it is often wise to change the text to white with a black background. Although white text surrounded a black frame seems plain, it is the easiest to see on nearly any color background. You can also experiment with the text size to see if it makes a difference in readability.
Navigation elements help break up the content and give it a space of its own. The bars, buttons, and other attention-grabbing elements work best as neutral, yet dark tones. The navigational elements should actively move the viewer’s eyes across the content of the web page while emphasizing the most important sections. Medical websites should always lead the reader toward service and contact information, first and foremost.
Viewing the feedback you gather from the site analytics will help you determine how well your selected color scheme and layout is working. An attractively designed site should encourage visitors to bounce through the subpages in a predictable manner, guided by the precisely placed navigational elements.
If site visit trends show a large amount of people exiting the page immediately after opening it, you may need to slightly adjust the tones to avoid a harsh emotional response. Avoid the urge to make big changes, as it will not provide you with good information about the success of the site. Instead, tweak a single element and review the traffic results for a few days to determine if that was the causative factor.
Remember to reflect on the way the color scheme and layout make you feel when you see it fresh after a few days away. If you find any portion jarring or uncomfortable, make sure to adjust the colors or elements to increase the aesthetics and promote a positive emotional response to your medical website.