Building Trust with Colour

by Alvaro Gonzalez

When you begin your journey at The Data School, in one of the first weeks you will have a class on Design and Interactivity. In this class, we learned something that I will always keep in mind and that is the importance of colour.

Colour choice in your dashboards and visualizations can determine their effectiveness. It is vital for establishing trust with the user. This trust will reduce the friction that the user experiences when navigating your dashboard for the first time.

A good choice of colour should appeal to the users pre-attentive processing. This is the way that they subconsciously accumulate information about their environment. The less work their brains has to do to understand what they are looking at, the better. This allows the user to understand your story quicker, which is invaluable, because with dashboards, one second can be the difference between losing or retaining their interest.

This point is especially important when working for a client. Using colours that align with their brand or brand guidelines can go a long way in building trust with the user. They instantly feel at easy when they see familiar colours and logos.

Conversely, using brand colours can also raise more questions. For example, if you worked for McDonald’s would you use yellow/positive & red/negative? Is it a mistake to use one of their key brand colours as a negative indicator? These are details that would have to be ironed out with the client, but you can see how important the intention behind colour choice is.

Some best practices with colours is to avoid those that are too bright or too dark. Save brighter colours to highlight key points on your dashboard and even then, it is preferable to use a pastel version of a bright colour or to reduce the opacity so that is easier on the eye. Avoid using stereotypes such as green/positive and red/negative as some users will colour blindness will not be able to tell the difference. There are some amazing resources from Data School alumni that can teach you the dos and don'ts.

As my time in The Data School continues, I’m excited to learn more about design, so that I can improve my work.

Wed 29 May 2024

Wed 29 May 2024

Fri 08 Mar 2024