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I help out in the design of a non profit organization and I was working on creating a feedback form using Jquery which pops up on selecting a link in the footer .The form is a light grey in color (with a gradient) and it stands out against the background which is white .However the director of the organization wants the feedback form to be white as well since he doesnt want variations in color and common consistency ? I argued with him saying that you need it to stand out other wise it would just merge in the background but to not much avail .

Is there any research which gives insights into how feedback forms should be styled with regards to the background color of the page on which its located ?

User testing would be the way to go but we dont really have that option since the site is supposed to be kept under wraps until its completely ready to go live

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In my anecdotal experience, I've found that minimizing colors is usually for the best. In this case, I'd agree with the director and go with consistency. However, if you're worried about it blending in with the background, there are a few things you can do to emphasize the form to the user:

  • Look at borders elsewhere in the site, and match them. A bold border around your feedback form will bring focus to it and prevent it from disappearing against the background.
  • If your feedback form is one that pops up over page content, consider greying out the rest of the page until the form has been cancelled or submitted. This is becoming more and more popular practice, and it's impossible for the users to miss the form.
  • Consider a small splash of color. If your form submission buttons are colored elsewhere, color it here as well. Go with consistency: whatever small amount of color you can bring in from the rest of the site will be consistent (and appease the director) as well as bring a little more attention to your form.
  • Place the form as close to the activation link as possible. When a user clicks it, that's where their eyes will be. Pop it up where they're already looking, and put the submit button close to where their cursor already was, to ensure the form is as easy to complete as possible.

Also, remember that if this form is activated by clicking a link in the footer, it was almost definitely an intentional act, and the user will be expecting a response. Even if the response isn't pow-in-your-face and is more subtle, they'll be looking for it.

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Thanks,that was very helpful ,I think a lightbox would be the way to go since it would stand out and also ensure that I can get the color which the sponsor wants –  Mervin Johnsingh Nov 29 '11 at 6:20
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