The science behind why you would click on a blue link

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How does the blue hue make you feel? People have long assumed that various moods and emotions can be evoked by such colors. Science has accepted the theory that colors can have an emotional effect which this article will discuss in detail.

Blue is a hue also seen in nature, such as the light blue of the day sky or the pool of water’s rich dark blue. It is probably for this cause that people always define the color blue as comfortable and relaxed. But as a cool color, blue can appear icy, remote, or even cold at times.

On a regular basis, both online and in-person, you engage with so many choices. Like reading a book or choosing a film based on the Netflix trailer. It’s impossible to keep track of why you do the things you do. Of course, while a lot of it is a personal choice, there is research behind why you click on that stuff and not others. As it turns out, color is an immense reflection of the brain.

I will assure you that blue is a color for any crowd. It could be a cerulean ocean shot, a turquoise beach, or the darker blue of the popular rooftops of Santorini- it’s going to be a success. But it isn’t just me that sees this stuff. Honestly, it’s a tried-and-true science reality that people are really into the blue color.

How does Blue influence us?

Blue indicates a sense of harmony and relaxation, according to Color Psychology. It is also known to assist in calming and reflection (something we should all use more during our Facebook browsing sessions). The color is also connected to efficiency, continues Color Psychology, and it is claimed that the hue will encourage mental focus and enhance the process of thinking. The lasting appeal this hue has when it comes to social media pictures is demonstrated by only these characteristics alone.

Colorcom, a network of color professionals offering business and consumer consultations, has a website devoted to the critical relationship between color and advertising. Institute for Color research data backs it up. “Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Between 62 percent and 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone.”

This makes sense, considering Blue’s ability to settle people down. “Tests show that a B&W image can retain attention for less than two-thirds a second. While a colorful image will keep the eye for two seconds or longer”. Colorcom further states that introducing any bit of color will maximize the period someone spends on a product or on a website.

And it doesn’t stop online with this click-effect. Kissmetrics, a user experience analytics agency, says blue is also appealing for driving shoppers and budget-conscious customers.

Blue has been nailed down as a color to use if you are trying to get more attention, especially via social media, Instagram specifically. In 2013, Curalate, a social scheduling application, started analysis on the importance of the color blue. Their findings? Photos that were considered “all blue” got 24% greater likes than photos of warm colors. They related this to the relaxing capability of the color, saying it “bodes well for consumers who normally search their Instagram feeds to let off some pressure after a really difficult day.”

Which one is the best shade of blue?

Help Scout, a tech firm that helps organizations to expand audiences, says the branding is all about it. When it comes to how we label colors, a report named ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ looked into the tastes of participants. They found, for instance, that individuals respond to fancier names better than common names (mocha versus brown). That’s why azure or Persian blue over light blue or dark blue may tempt you more.

Google attempted a surprising trial on several consumers in 2016: it made all its search results black rather than blue. The look didn’t hang around- to this day, Google searches are blue. But the test posed an important issue that has been discussed by the web design community for decades: Are blue hyperlinks bad? Recent studies on the subject say no, and it contradicts long-held assumptions in typography regarding the use of color.

Why are hyperlinks blue, then?

Blue hyperlinks are obviously good, according to a recent PLOS One journal article by scientists at the University of Southampton. Researchers learned that colors do not impact reading, after all, introducing eye trackers to research reading comprehension in all kinds in text colors, including some good old hyperlinks on Wikipedia articles. In reality, for reading written texts, every color is appropriate- all that truly matters would be that the text is displayed in high contrast to the backdrop. “The key lesson we have found here for Web designers is that colored words don’t have any negative effect on the actions of reading,” the writers say.

It’s the newest in a recent string of experiments using the “new eye-tracking science” to explain how people view the environment. It throws new insight into traditional software and web development (and even architecture).

With a few hundred native-English speakers, the researchers ran three different experiments. Each evaluation was based on the latest results in an effort to identify a break point at which color influenced the speed of reading or the rate of re-reading. A single term of varying shades such as orange, red, and gray, was incorporated into separate phrases in the first experiment.

Here’s an example:

The authors suspect that people were less likely to miss reading a colored word around the board. “Maybe because the reader felt the color acted as a symbol that the word could be relevant in some way”. The only issues that existed were whether the term was green or light grey. In these situations, individuals held on the words longer than normal. Why? They were made less legible by their decreased contrast. The hue was perfect, but in comparison to its background, the contrast was not. This makes great sense, as a well-established concept within the field of graphic and interface design is the use of good contrast for text.

The second trial upped the ante, putting in a sentence several words of a single color. Here’s an example of how this approach was different.

The effects of this second study were essentially the same as the first one as the reader was not bothered by the first color unless it was poor contrast. Researchers noticed, though, that readers were unexpectedly able to miss them again when several words received a color treatment. In other words, readers began to read these sentences like any other, missing the additional stimuli.

The third and final experiment represented an actual Wikipedia article, and just as we see on Wikipedia, it used a sea of clear blue hyperlinks. Readers again appeared to be parsing all the material perfectly. They didn’t pay any kind of extra focus to hyperlinks. And in one example. If a hyperlinked word was a less popular “non-fancy” word, readers would sometimes re-read the segment-leading up to the word, possibly attempting to infer its meaning. In such situations, readers were slowed a bit, but then the hyperlinked word undoubtedly suggested the best meaning. Because they were unfamiliar with it, they re-read hoping that they would find it out the best part of it.

Thus, according to color psychology:

  • Blue is more popular with men, but it is more or less equally popular among women.
  • Since so many people choose blue, it is also used as a non-threatening hue that can look conservative and classic.
  • Blue is often used as a symbol of reliability and stability.
  • Blue can generate feelings of depression or aloofness as well.
  • Blue is also used for decorating workplaces since studies have found that in blue environments, people are more efficient.
  • Blue is one of the least appetizing colors, even though it is one of the most popular ones.
  • Pulse rate and body temperature can also be reduced by Blue.
  • Consider how blue is used in the English language: blue Monday, blue moon, blue blood, blues music and blue ribbon.

Concluding the longstanding controversy about the merits of blue as a hyperlink color:

Efforts to stop using blue as the hyperlink color in web creation by using a different color do not have a good impact on the reader reading the text. That makes it more difficult for the reader to realize what a hyperlink is as they need it to conform with the hyperlink norms of being denoted in blue. Years of using computers have made our minds condition to it, as portrayed in the experiment done by Google.

In other terms, feel free to use whatever color you want for hyperlinks. But ensure the contrast is strong, remember that on the page it will bring more focus, and understand that blue is still probably the best.

Written by Lily Jameson

Lily is a writer and artist with a background in creative arts and design. She believes that both her passions complement each other really well. She often says that what she finds difficult to express with her words, she does so through her art. As a young professional in the digital world, she is well-versed in writing for all kinds of digital platforms, and has had the opportunity to have her writings published across multiple fields. She loves to write about what she knows best – art, culture, and history – and her expertise in these areas reflect in her writing.

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