Design User Experience Web Design

Supercharge Your Website’s Page Load Time With Color

Blue map of human brain

By Andres Zapata \ November 12, 2018

No, color alone can’t actually speed up your website. That’d be silly.

But the right color, value and chroma can elicit the perception of a faster loading website.

We know the brain functions under a limited processing model. It’s a giant guessing machine tuned over the millennia to quickly process lots of stimuli and “guess” based on the person’s experience and situational expectations to form actionable perceptions.

Since the brain is for guessing, it’s fairly easy to trick it. As user experience designers, we have to ask ourselves: can we trick the brain to advance our UX agendas? A study, Waiting for the Web: How Screen Color Affects Time Perception, published by the Journal of Marketing Research, says you can.

These researchers found that designers can adjust hue, value and chroma to induce more or less relaxed feelings states — and less relaxed feeling states lead to greater perceived page load quickness. The researchers concluded that by using soothing color trickery, a website could be perceived to run up to 53% faster.

It turns out, we can trick users to perceive interfaces loading faster simply by using blues, higher-value, and low chroma. What’s more, users that perceive faster loading websites are more likely to recommend the website to their friends. Wow. Just, wow. 

A word of caution: sometimes, users “need” the website to take a second or two to process information so they “believe” their input (actions) had the intended outcome (feedback). The use of blue, higher-value and low chroma “speeds up” your website, but be careful to not to lose your users along the way… throttle with good feedback and perhaps a few microinteractions.

Reference:

Gerald J. Gorn, Amitava Chattopadhyay, Jaideep Sengupta, & Shashank Tripathi. (2004). Waiting for the Web: How Screen Color Affects Time Perception. Journal of Marketing Research, (2), 215. Retrieved from http://proxy-ub.researchport.umd.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.30162328&site=eds-live

Andres Zapata
Executive Vice President of Strategy, Co-founder
Andres Zapata
Executive Vice President of Strategy, Co-founder

Andres isn’t like most EVPs or co-founders. He’s responsible for the operations and direction of idfive, but he’s also the door-always-open, huevos-rancheros-making leader who’ll help you when the wifi isn’t working. A lifetime learner and multifaceted professional, Andres has more than 20 years of experience leading projects for clients in various industries. He believes in the power of research and data to create something beautiful that can do something good.