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InfoQ Homepage News Article: Colors and the UI

Article: Colors and the UI


In this article, Dr. Tobias Komischke explains how colors used in a GUI can influence our interaction with a computer and offers advice on using the appropriate colors for the interface.

Read: Colors and the UI


As the name suggests, GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) present their features and functions visually. The human-computer interaction is heavily based on seeing things, looking for things and interacting with graphical UI elements. Color is a main characteristic of any visual scene, not only on computer screens, but in any situation where we see something. Because most of what we see and interact with in our everyday life is colored (as opposed to shades of white-gray-black), we are very familiar with colors – maybe so much that we don’t think about them a lot. On the other hand, it does bother us when we need to read a dark-gray label on a black button. So colors have the potential to boost or wreck the user experience. This article will introduce the concept of user experience and highlight some aspects of colors and color perception together with recommendations for UI design.


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Community comments

  • usabilty is important!

    by Kevin E. Schlabach,

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    From the mouth of an expert! Thanks Tobias for this great article. Reminds me of some of the other stuff you discussed when we worked together in the past.

    For everyone else, this is yet another example of why having usability in software development is important and we have to figure out how to embed usability roles into the agile process.

  • Kuler

    by Christopher Brind,

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    Nice one, this will make more sense to me now!


  • additional information

    by Jay Dowling,

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    You might also be interested in the information at this site:

  • Nice article.

    by Chris Matts,

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    This is a really nice summary of this subject.

    I have been using colour more and more. On one project the sponsor was colour deficient. So we checked all the screens using a colour deficiency filter. This is the one we used ( ). I filtered a picture of an orange rose. The results were amazing. To some it looks pink and to others blue.

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