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We have a design for an app developed by an external agency and our business people seem to be happy with it. But it’s really terrible - the colours are too bright, the text is difficult to read and so on.

How can we persuade our business that it needs to be changed? We can’t just say “We don’t like it, it sucks.” We need to have valid points against this colour scheme.

I understand that colours are subjective. But are there any objective metrics that can show the difference between bad and good app colour scheme?

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    Simple user testing even with a small sample size would solve the problem. – Kishan Feb 3 '18 at 12:27
  • Google's material design color guidelines is a comprehensive list of UI color issues and user-tested solutions. Their section on color is detailed so you can use it to test your design choices. You can use their videos and graphics to demonstrate and validate your issues. – moot Feb 4 '18 at 18:27
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Depending on the type of app (mobile, web) there are sites that can give you an objective answer as to whether the chosen color scheme is suitable.

WebAim is a Color Contrast Checker Tool that can give you insight regarding the contrast errors.

Material Color Tool is built for picking colors for Android apps, however you can apply the colors of your color scheme and see how they perform in accessibility terms with white and black text.

Apart from those two, there are lots of online color pickers that can provide suggestions regarding the correct color combinations.

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I understand that colours are subjective.

Qualities conveyed with color are pretty subjective, but colors are themselves not so much. At least not in the sense I think you are asking about, i.e. where color has a few jobs to do.

One of those jobs is to "not suck," i.e. be aesthetically pleasing and desirable. Desirability tests and preference tests can be quick tie-breakers if you just want to loosen the earth and don't need to get out an Excel chart, but your A and B versions must be identical except for a conspicuous color scheme difference. Otherwise, you won't have a good idea why people reacted differently to A or B.

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Just try some testing some A and B color schemes. Even if your original assumptions prove wrong, you still learning something in the process.

Meanwhile, here's some light reading about the impact of colorfulness and visual complexity on user's first impressions of website aesthetics.

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