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Bublup: The Cloud Reimagined | Webdesigner Depot

Since mankind first crawled out of its cave, looked at a block of stone, and wondered if it wouldn’t roll better if it were round, human beings have been looking at technology and trying to make it better.

Almost every tech you can think of, from digital music players, to cryptocurrency, to search engines, may well be revolutionary in their first incarnation, but only go on to change the world once they’ve been reimagined with the kinks worked out.

however you want to store your stuff online, you can do it with Bublup

Now, Bublup (pronounced Bubble-up) is reimagining the cloud, one of the mainstays of modern computing, by reinventing not just the technology that powers the cloud, but how we use it in our daily lives.

One of the biggest problems with the cloud is that no matter who supplies it, it is structured and organized in a way that suits the cloud supplier; photos go in your photos folder, notes go in your documents folder or a notebook, links go in your bookmarks folder. Bublup is different, Bublup lets you organize your content however you want to. You can even mix and match media types in the same folder. So, unlike some cloud providers you can store links with photos, notes in with videos, PDFs in with MP3s; however you want to store your stuff online, you can do it with Bublup.


It’s this flexibility that makes Bublup one of the most intuitive ways to save and share plans, memories, ideas, and projects. Imagine you’re planning a trip to your dream destination next year, instead of keeping all your research across a dozen different folders, with Bublup you can store everything in one place — your flight details, reservations, your itinerary, maps, places you want to eat, things you want to see, guidebooks – everything you’ll need for the trip of a lifetime. The same goes for work projects, sharing family photos, meal planning, and more.

You can even use Bublup for work collaboration

Bublup makes your folders private by default, so you don’t have to worry about anyone taking your files without your permission. But one of the best features of Bublup, and one we know you’re going to want to check out, is its collaboration options. You can invite anyone to join your folder, and work on it together by commenting and reacting on items or folders. It’s an awesome way to build up content from a whole group of people.

You can even use Bublup for work collaboration. Just create a folder for your project and invite your team to join you. Store emails, briefing notes, assets, contracts, everything for your current project in a single, secure location.


One of the key benefits of Bublup is that everything is organized visually, with big thumbnails and titles, so you never have to hunt around for the file you’re looking for, it’s always right in front of you and easy to find.

Perhaps our favorite Bublup feature is “rolls”. Rolls are beautifully presented stories built from the contents of your folder in just a few clicks. Upload your vacation photos and videos to Bublup, and then in seconds create a story that captures the event perfectly. Best of all, rolls can be shared with anyone – they don’t even need a Bublup account – just build your roll and share it with a single link. It’s the perfect way of sharing vacation memories, or keeping in touch with family.


Something we know everyone will love is Bublup’s suggestion engine. This awesome tool seeks out fresh content for you, helping you discover ideas you didn’t even know were out there. It’s an incredibly useful option when you’re researching. Let’s say you’re planning that dream trip, wouldn’t it be great to get the best tips on places to eat, stay, and enjoy from locals and leading sites on the web? Bublup’s suggestion engine will search them all out for you, you can choose to add them to your folder, or ignore them, it’s completely up to you!


The best thing about Bublup is that it’s easy to use. You don’t need to be an expert to get the most out of this tool. It’s so easy to use even complete novices will be up to speed in minutes, and it’s the perfect solution for everything from staying in touch with family and friends, to collaborating with colleagues on professional projects.

Incredibly, Bublup’s standard plan is free, with 3 GB of storage for files and unlimited links, and all features except the most advanced roll features. If you discover that Bublup is the right tool for you then keep using the standard plan for free, or upgrade to a paid plan from just $2.99 per month. Head over to now to start organizing your content the way it suits you.


[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bublup –]

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In Defence of Hacking | Webdesigner Depot

When your business is just getting started online, hacking seems like a purely bad thing: catastrophic at worst, and a nuisance at best. But is there ever an ethical use-case for hacking? And if so, where is the line between being hacked, and using hacking?

Someone defaced your website, posted a rude or lewd image, and called you the adult equivalent of a doodyhead? Ah well, time to grab the backups, and maybe switch hosts.

You can’t really be faulted for thinking that. In popular culture, hackers are either nefarious, villainous, and often very good-looking nerds, or else they’re helpful nerds of varying appearance who are there to provide comic relief, and tell the world what a horrible evil bad person the villain is by leaking their stuff. And since you’re not trying to nuke anybody, why would you have anything to do with an “ethical” hacker?

“hacker” used to be a term for someone who studied tech, broke it down, and put it back together

As usual, Hollywood is wrong, and silly. Here’s a story I’ve told before on WDD: “hacker” used to be a term for someone who studied tech, broke it down, and put it back together in order to understand and learn from it. Malicious hackers were called “crackers” (now there’s a name that didn’t stick for so many different reasons…).

But the word “hacker” has been co-opted, so now those curious nerd types are called “ethical hackers” or “white hat” hackers, and they’re an important part of the tech ecosystem. Here’s why:


Gaining Knowledge and Understanding

That basic premise I mentioned above? Break it apart and put it back together? It’s a defining trait of the entire Open Source software (and hardware) industry. It’s how people learn and grow as developers (or hardware designers).

People do it with proprietary tech, too, but the proprietors (and sometimes law enforcement) tend to be less than happy about it. Even then, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion. If you’ve ever had an Apple product repaired for less than the cost of the original item, or even just had a jailbroken phone, you have ethical hackers to thank.

As for web designers, where would we even be without “View Source”?


Testing Your Security

This is one of the big money-makers in the ethical hacking community: having hackers break into your system to help you find out where the problems are. It’s a practice that’s also known as “penetration testing”, which is usually shortened to “pen testing” because (and you can quote me on this) all programmers are basically twelve years old.

Sometimes businesses hire ethical hackers to do this, but more than a few hackers work freelance, submitting issues they find in exchange for bounties paid by the companies they “hack”. Companies with larger budgets and smart recruiters often make a point of hiring the better hackers who try their skills against the company’s systems.


Finding the Other Kind of Hackers

When there’s something strange in your network, who you gonna call? The saying “it takes one to know one” applies here, maybe more than it does in the rest of…well…life. Hiring hackers not only to help you test your defenses, but to help you build them in the first place, and track down attackers is another big money maker.

Of course, their official title will probably be something more along the lines of “Information Security Expert”, or possibly “Taylor Swift”. But make no mistake, they use many of the same skills and tools as “hackers”.

Okay fine, I’ll explain this one again, too: Taylor Swift is, in this case, the pseudonym of a Twitter-famous IT person who does a great job of breaking down basic “infosec” best practices for everyone. They do this while sort of roleplaying as the actual Taylor Swift, and writing short science fiction stories / Cortana fan-fiction. Is that Cortana the AI in Halo or the Microsoft-made virtual assistant? Yes.


Dealing With Catastrophes

Have you ever been locked out of your house, and had to send a kid climbing through one of the second-story windows? (I remember being that kid. It was fun.) Or just called a locksmith? On rare occasions, things might go very, incredibly wrong, and leave you locked out of your own IT systems.

Assuming you can’t just pull the plug and reboot things manually, or ask your service providers very nicely to let you back in, you might end up hiring a hacker. Now, I did say this was a rare thing. Most software designers are smarter than that.

But what if you get hacked by someone you didn’t pay to do it, and you’re locked out of all your accounts on social media, for example, and customer support is taking a very long coffee break? There have been times when people have hired hackers to give them back what is rightfully theirs. This sort of action is in a grey area at best (Twitter won’t be happy to get hacked no matter what the reason), but…it’s a thing that happens.


Increased Connectivity Means We Need Ethical Hackers Now More Than Ever

The more of your business that you do online, the more you need to beef up your security. It might seem like ethical hackers are mostly just solving a problem created by other hackers and…that’s not entirely wrong. But it’s not their fault, either. People are just people, and people sometimes do bad things.

It’s like how people rob stores, and that’s why stores hire security. Ethical hackers are part of the ecosystem because we need them. We need them to find out how our tech works, to keep big data-driven, profit-focused companies honest. We need them to fend off attackers, and develop our anti-virus and firewall software.

And most of all, we need them to run their penetration testing deep into our networks, and tell us how hard it is to get in. (I may not be a programmer, but I’m twelve years old too.)


Featured image via Unsplash.

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Brand Science 101 | Webdesigner Depot

For me to use the term “branding industry” often feels odd, even though I work within it. The entry point for agencies and designers is low, and the speed at which consultants and authors have dominated the content space is enormous. But unlike its younger sibling social media, branding has lacked the polish of evidence-based metrics and science to back it up. Until now…

Every day in my work helping grow digital agencies and Fortune 500 brands, I hear countless companies struggle with how to discuss, interact with, and grow their client’s brand, leaving dollars on the table and creating problems along the way. The agency owner offers their perspective, shares why branding is important, but usually lacks the conversational skills to navigate the need. And as a result, it’s not just the client that suffers. Sure, their brand doesn’t grow, but the agency doesn’t either.


The Typical Logo Scenario

One of the top problems I hear from agency owners is how to address branding in their scope of services or even how to bring it up. Usually, clients are coming to them with little to no investment in their branding, and the branding discussion usually doesn’t happen until after the project is signed. They don’t have the words to justify what they’re saying to the client or even to point out the “why” behind the “what.”

It’s a touchy subject no matter how you slice it

Usually the client goes to hand over what few branding assets they have at the start of the project. Then the agency is stuck. Do they simply “clean it up” and miss the opportunity to strategically help their client? How do you tell a new client that their brand assets are sub-par? How do you approach a client about a redesign when they didn’t approach you for that as part of the job? It’s a touchy subject no matter how you slice it.

This, of course, throws the project off-course, generates scope creep, and adds unnecessary anxiety. You may not have the time or resources to address it, and your client wants everything to be successful while expecting something “extra” thrown in. You’re not getting paid for it, but you feel like you have to address the ugly branding since your name is on the site credits.


So, What Do You Do?

Typically, you’ll pitch them a modest dollar amount of time, they agree, and you both move forward by picking a more modern color scheme, a cleaner typeface, and possibly a logo refresh. You try to get inside the client’s head and find something that resonates with them. It turns an adventure into the subjective minutiae of selection, with the client nit-picking about how they hate circles or don’t like the color blue. In the end, the client says they’re happy and everyone moves on.

But so much is wrong with this scenario. The real issue here isn’t about the client’s lack of branding initially, how you tacked on an attempt to modernize it, or that you don’t have the resources to do it. It’s not just when you addressed it, it’s also how you addressed it.


What Agencies Are Missing

If there’s one thing that’s missing from the arsenal of digital agency owners, it’s a solid understanding of branding – one that’s solid enough to convince the client of the investment on the front end, and one that during the process, solidifies the agency owner’s expertise as a strategist and partner.

A lot of digital agencies think that effective branding is a beautiful logo. While a logo is important, it’s simply one of several visual and verbal market-based assets that comprise the client’s Distinctive Brand Assets (more on that later). Most agencies are trying to tackle branding by cleaning up the logo alone, and in the process, are not helping their clients grow and succeed, and end up missing out on a larger amount of success, for both their agency and their client.

With branding only having developed as a commercial industry in the past century, it has undergone significant growth, debate, and superfluous opinion – with lots of “experts” out there. And with most agency owners and designers having gone out on their own, they’ve inherited a broken model, and not all the facts. In fact, what every digital agency needs before broaching the subject with a client is an updated understanding of how brands actually function, grow, and scale.


The Secret is Brand Science

The secret that top-performing web and digital agency owners know (that you might not) is that there is, in fact, evidence-based metrics to branding. They exist, and formally, it’s called “brand science,” and informally, it’s talking about the elements of branding in a new way, but with some boundaries. Those that are using brand science are able to help their clients grow their brand, increase their success, and ultimately increase their own.

Brand Science is simply the branding side of evidence-based marketing, making branding and design decisions based on metrics and well, science. There’s a bit of economics, psychology, and consumer behavior in there too, but the basics are easy to master, and the results are well worth it.

If you learn how successful brands actually grow, the logo conversation, the resource issues, and the client back and forth goes away. In fact, bad clients even start going away. Most web agencies didn’t get into business with the intent of working on branding and are uncomfortable with the subject, but it’s the truth: in order to succeed as a digital agency, no matter where or how you got your start, you have to upgrade your understanding of branding to brand science.


Distinctive Brand Assets

If you didn’t do too good, or even pay attention, in school during science class, don’t let the word “science” scare you off. Brand science is simply evidence-based marketing and research-based support for making branding and design decisions. That means, making design decisions based on research, and marketing decisions based on laws that are actually proven and making these a part of your agency’s service offerings as soon as possible.

If you’re a real go-getter, you can read more about these in Byron Sharp’s book,How Brands Grow.” For the rest of us, keep reading.

Luckily for you and me, the marketing researchers at Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Southern Australia have done decades of research into how buyers buy and how brands compete and grow and discovered that the best way to grow a brand is through creating higher mental and physical availability through creating distinct visual and verbal market assets, called Distinctive Brand Assets (DBAs).

Let’s step out of the web world for just a moment. Coca-Cola has its own DBA’s. In fact, red is the dominant color in the soft drink category. Other competitors or even generic brand name knock-off colas may use red, but they don’t have the some of the other signature DBAs, such as the brandmark’s typeface, the signature bottle, or their advertising style. There’s even the jingle, “always Coca-Cola,” as well as their tagline, as well as the polar bears, the curvey swoosh overlayed on photos, and the color combinations of red, black, green, and white they use to canonize the family of products.

These DBAs are specific to the soft drink category and don’t have associations outside. CVS and Target are also red but don’t compete mentally with Coca-Cola, and as a result, each category has its own plethora of associations to discuss. Your job is to ensure that your client has a palette of DBAs formulated within the insights of their category that they can use on their website which can translate to every other part of their business.

There are some additional principles, laws, and metrics in there too, but as a primer for brand science, this is the biggest idea.


Brand Science, Explained

Think of it like this: scientifically, branding is like the movie Inception plus Total Recall – it’s the on-going strategic business approach of creating memories for people to recall. Brand science calls these “cognitive associations.” The brand with the most famous and unique associations and networks at the top of the consumers’ minds has the highest mental availability. They then purchase based on how physically available that product, good, or service is.

So when initially talking to the client, the goal is to create the most mental networks, associations, and memories possible so they can be recalled quickly, connectedly, and most importantly, first.


The Number One Way to Grow a Brand

The number one way to create these associations is by creating distinctive market assets with a palette of unique, memorable and famous sounds, colors, characters (celebrities, spokespeople, cartoons), words, word combinations, color, color combinations, stories, common stylistic elements, photography, and yes, even logos. Together, these DBAs are a palette to be used in a variety of ways to create, cue, and refresh these associations.

capturing the complete landscape of the category is imperative

The goal of these market assets is to be both distinct and memorable. This is where it’s important to research the whole category, not just a few competitors. Brands, as a whole, compete against all brands in the category and also other brands their size. So this means when attempting to get insights into designing a new brand identity or refresh, capturing the complete landscape of the category is imperative. The more assets your client has that are both famous and unique within their category, the more associations they can have, the higher the mental availability, which is the end goal.

If you discover that a category is predominantly blue and green, always uses sans serif typefaces, always tends to use objective, product-focused copy, and is overall focused on practicality, you can interpret the data, gather insights, and find out why some of these things are as such, and from there, innovate.


How Brands Grow

Now that we’ve discussed Distinctive Brand Assets. We need to know how to use them.

According to Sharp, we make our lives unnecessarily difficult by handicapping ourselves with unfounded theories, anecdotes, and metaphors. There are some pretty hard hitters here. For example, there’s no evidence to suggest that consumers want a relationship with brands, that brand commitment and loyalty are just wishful thinking, and that the whole exercise of creating brand personalities is even a productive endeavor.

7 Rules for Brand Growth

Let’s replace our complicated theories of marketing, and brand infographics, with seven scientifically derived rules for brand growth.

  1. Continuously reach all buyers of the category: Communicate to both light, infrequent, and frequent buyers. Avoid being silent in communication and distribution.
  2. Ensure the brand is easy to buy: The best brands have universal appeal, so communicate how the brand fits with the users’ lives, based on inspiration and needs corresponding to the product/brand, not demographic details.
  3. Get noticed: Grab their attention and focus on brand salience to prime the users’ minds. Remember, unseen is unsold, so stay seen, and make sure they’re attracted to it.
  4. Refresh and build memory structures: Respect existing associations that make the brand easy to notice and easy to buy.
  5. Create and use distinctive brand assets: Use sensory cues to get noticed and stay top of mind. This is where you use the DBA Palette.
  6. Be consistent: You should avoid unnecessary changes, whilst keeping the brands fresh and interesting.
  7. Stay competitive: You should keep the brand easy to buy and avoid giving excuses not to buy (i.e. by targeting a particular group)


How Can You Succeed?

If you want your client to succeed, you’re going to have to make sure that DBAs are part of the conversation from day one. This presents the opportunity for you to ensure your client is getting an expert to diagnose their business, not just another web agency.

So, when a client knocks on your door and barely has a logo to offer, it’s an opportunity to position yourself as an expert, using brand science to justify the importance of considering developing more brand assets to utilize on his/her website, and for any additional needs he/she may have as a set of assets to invest in.

Addressing branding as part of the strategy from the first interaction will have massive benefits for your agency and life. In the immediate term, you’ll start marking more money, which means more profit and success in your business.

Think about how freeing it would be to eliminate clients who think “their logo is just fine,” or expect you to ninja some magic for them without paying for it. Think about becoming positioned even more as the expert when presenting your solutions to the client. Think about how much better you’ll feel putting your name on the site credits or how much more confident you’ll feel having that client in your portfolio. The initial effects are significant.

It’s also not just the agency who benefits. The client does in immense ways. By ensuring they have a DBA palette of assets, the client is now able to use those market assets to grow their mental and physical availability. They’re able to focus their efforts on becoming a leader in their category, and are able to see the big picture, and how the website is part of it. And with client growth, comes more agency growth, and the ability to be part of it.

But there’s one benefit that is more important than all the others. By learning about the importance of DBAs, I see agency owners go from a place of insecurity to a place of confidence. Everything changes. Agency owners go from frustrated and flustered, to educated and empowered. They’re able to diagnose with confidence that the client’s brand is weak, and can make recommendations immediately to make brand design and strategy packages part of the website, leading to a more successful relationship in the long run.


Featured image via DepositPhotos.

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Are Design Pitches Worthwhile? | Webdesigner Depot

Pitching can be time-consuming, confidence-shaking, and unprofitable. Here, we’ll try to answer the question, “Are pitches worthwhile?”

For most designers – freelance or in-house – generating new business can be a dreaded part of the job. But it necessary to maintain and sustain growth and find new clients. When it comes to finding design work, is there a best way to find jobs? Do you pitch for new business or rely on other methods to find work?


Reasons to Pitch for New Business

There are so many places that freelance designers can pitch for new business, including job boards, and content or design networks, or marketplaces. Some designers may pitch on social media as well.

But is it worth your time to post in these places to generate business?

For some designers, the answer is, “Yes.”

Pitching requires you to think about the type of work and clients you want to take on. This can be a valuable exercise that helps you grow your business strategically and with the type of work you want to do. If you plan to pitch, create specific pitches that respond directly to postings, avoiding generic “I can do any type of design” pitches.

For freelancers with limited time, this can be an ideal situation

Pitching works for designers that want to know exactly where they stand with projects and don’t want to deal with the management of them. Most pitches you submit in response to a job board or marketplace post will detail a specific design need, timeline, and payment for that work. You know everything up front and don’t have to negotiate terms or deal with scope creep. For freelancers with limited time, this can be an ideal situation.

Pitching can help you find an “in” with new clients and turn into long-term work. There are plenty of designers that have found good projects through Behance, Dribbble, and Upwork.

Pitching might be the only way for a new designer to build a strong portfolio. Depending on the stage of your career, this type of work can help generate clients, relationships, and projects that can lead to more work later.

Whether responding to ads and sending pitches is the right choices depends on you and the stage you are at in your career. It’s not for everyone, but for some designers, pitching can be totally worthwhile, and work better than cold calling or trying to generate new business in other ways.


Reasons Not to Pitch

Some designers hate pitching and find that the time spent looking for new business doesn’t generate enough income to support itself. That’s the top reason not to pitch. If you aren’t bringing in work with pitches, it could actually be costing you money. Analyze pitches sent, responses received, and clients you are actually working with. How much time do you spend on pitching versus revenue generated from actual work from pitching?

If the math doesn’t work out to a sustainable hourly rate, pitching might not be the best option for you. It can be a lot of work, without a large return.

Are you charging less or doing work that you’d never put in your portfolio?

When it comes to responding and pitching for projects, there’s almost always a “middle” company or organization that gets a cut of the payment for the job. If you can generate new business own your own, why pay that fee?

Sometimes pitching can feel spammy or doesn’t help you build more business. Are you cutting your worth to respond to a pitch? Are you charging less or doing work that you’d never put in your portfolio? If the answer to either question is yes, then pitching is probably not for you.


Other Ways to Generate New Design Business

Building a reputation as a designer and taking new clients from word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals is the top way most designers seem to want to generate new business.

But you have to have a fairly established client base and good network for this model to be sustainable. For a lot of designers, this often means that seeking outside work starts with responding to pitch requests while building more of a network and portfolio and then moving to other (more profitable) methods of generating new business.

So how do you generate design business?

There’s a funnel for getting design work for freelancers. At the big end of the funnel is work that’s mostly unsolicited and projects are often granted via pitch (such as marketplaces or job boards). These jobs don’t typically include long-term contracts or big fees. At the small end of the funnel is referrals and repeat client work. These jobs come from relationship building, often pay more and result in longer-term business for more experienced designers.

And then there’s everything in the middle:

  • Cold pitches: Soliciting work from clients via cold call, email, or with a pitch letter;
  • Events: Using speaking engagements or conferences to network and make connections that result in design work;
  • Advertising: Using paid advertising, a website, or email/mail to connect with potential clients that might need design services;
  • Social media: Generating business through social media channels by showcasing work or expertise or offering services;
  • Networking and feeders: Connecting with businesses or design agencies that can subcontract overflow work to you.

The reality is that almost every type of connection requires some type of pitch. The colder the pitch (or less connected you are to the potential client) the more work it will probably take to land the job.



So, we are back to the question at hand: Are pitches worthwhile?

Depending on your career stage, the answer is yes. For early career, or new freelance designers, pitching through marketplaces or job boards can help you grow a business on your own or provide just a little extra income from a side hustle.

For designers that are more established and already have a strong network, cold pitching isn’t the go-to option. In the end, most of us have responded to pitches at some point and either loved the simplicity of pitch and respond work or hated the lower income ratio often associated with these jobs.

Personally, pitching was a great way to establish my position in the field. And with years of experience to show now, work comes via referral. So yes, pitches can be worthwhile. They were a building block in my career and I expect many others share a similar experience.


Featured image via DepositPhotos.

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How Color Impacts UX | Webdesigner Depot

Color impacts everything from how a user feels when they interact with a design, to how they use the design, to whether they can fully see and understand it. Quite simply, color is a lot more than a decorative tool; color is central to user experience.

Let’s start with a common example: You’ve just finished a website design for someone. It looks and functions exactly like the wireframe. Everyone on the design team has praised the project. The client hates it, but they can’t explain why.

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The culprit might be color. Different colors can evoke such strong emotions that people have sharp reactions to them. It’s part personal preference, part psychological, and even part social norms. Understanding these tendencies and user preferences can greatly impact user experience.

Here’s what you need to know.


User Expectations and Preferences

User experience starts with the type of user your website or app is designed for. Basic demographics such as gender or region where a user lives can impact their perception of your design based on color. (You can read more about color and cultural considerations here.)

One of the most interesting impacts from color on UX is linked to gender. Studies have shown that men and women tend to like and dislike certain types of color.


Men tend to interact more with websites that have darker design schemes and more saturated colors, such as the design for VLNC Studio, above.

Women tend to prefer to interact with websites that have lighter design schemes and more muted color palettes, such as Tally, below.

Some men have a sharp reaction to websites using distinctly feminine colors such as pastel pinks, purples, and yellows.

More women tend to be put off by websites with harsh color schemes such as dark background with fully saturated red accents.

Mid-tone palettes are the most generally appealing to everyone.



Color Associations and Meanings

While it’s not an exact science, colors have fairly distinct emotional associations. Note that some colors can fall into categories of extremes. These associations tend to work with other design elements to create an overall vibe.

When a user sees a certain color or combination of colors, it creates an immediate response in the brain.

  • Red: Power, danger, love/passion, hunger
  • Yellow: Energy, happiness, light, warmth
  • Orange: Creativity, determination, stimulation, encouragement
  • Green: Nature, growth, harmony, freshness
  • Blue: Confidence, trust, serenity, calmness
  • Purple: Magic, royalty, ambition, independence


Establishing Brand Recognition


You expect design elements for Coca-Cola to be red. The color is so synonymous with the brand that it’s referred to as “Coke red.” Change the color and the brand is confusing. You don’t recognize it right away. The user is jarred and doesn’t quite react in the expected fashion. The drink might even seem to taste different.

All of those feelings come from changing the color. You might have felt yourself say “what?” when you saw the first image with green Coca-Cola branding.


It impacted the user experience you would have with the brand moving forward.

Color is an important element in branding because it creates that distinct connected between a user and a design. Color tells users what the brand is about. It tells users about the thing they are about to engage with.

Change that color, or use something off brand, and the user experience suffers because website visitors are suddenly confused or uncertain about the brand they thought they knew.


User Patterns Connect to Color

Have you noticed how many websites use red or orange buttons?

There’s a reason for that.

Bright colored buttons that contrast with the background of a website – red and orange often stand out from either light or dark backgrounds. Can help users find, understand, and want to engage with click- or tappable elements because they visually, and immediately, know what their expectation of that element is.

A key part of user experience is providing easy opportunities for users to interact that they enjoy and understand.


Cruise uses a ghost-style button with red text and a red hover state. It’s a different spin on traditional solid-color buttons, but there’s little question as to how to interact with it. Color draws users to the button.


Net Bluez uses a bright orange button for the most important element in the navigation menu. Notice how that element tends to jump off the screen begging to be clicked.


Increasing Conversion Rates

Challenge yourself in the design process to A/B Test button color. You’ll likely find that one color has a distinctly higher conversion rate than the other. (And it might not be the color you expect.)

Conversion rates tend to increase when the color of buttons or links is in stark contrast to the rest of the design. So, while you want to use a brand palette, picking a contrast color is key to generating conversions that contribute to overall user experience.

Look at the website below for a minute. Which color button is most likely to make you click? (The original color is blue.)



Providing Accessibility to All Users

Finally, color impacts UX in a way that’s not emotional or rooted in psychology. It’s much more practical than that.

Color impacts user experience because it can make a design accessible or not.

In order for everyone to understand a design fully, and engage with content, they must be able to see and read it with ease. Using color palettes and contrast ratios that fall in line with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) can ensure that every user can understand your color choices.

Use a color-blind filter, such as those in the comparisons below, to help simulate what other users might see when they look at your website. How could that impact usability?




Think of color as a tool to help users better interact and experience the content on your website. It impacts user experience on an emotional and usability level.

The key to figuring out if color is impacting UX in the right way is through user testing. A/B color tests can be a valuable tool.

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