The Small Change Google Made That You Missed

There is no denying the importance of star ratings for businesses. Adding stars to a website’s search results has actually been proven to increase click-through rates by up to 30%, allowing for positive reinforcement in multiple areas for a business.

In 2014 and 2015, Google was experimenting with the colors of their star ratings, ranging from green to blue and red to gray. When these different colors were being tested, it was found that different colors were appearing for organic versus paid links.

As of today, there have been two separate results shown: yellow and orange. Familiar colors to Google’s star ratings, this could be all thanks to a tweak in design strategy from Google, and even attentiveness to the potential of psychological association with certain colors.

Though no statement has been officially made by Google regarding these testing changes, they could be playing with color to try and emote the most positive reaction to these star ratings from consumers, or at least the most honest one.

Without an official announcement from Google, we’re left to speculate the reasoning behind the toggling between orange and yellow-colored star ratings on Google’s search pages.  The color yellow is the brightest color in the spectrum, making it the most noticeable by the human eye. It’s also said to have an influence on the left side of the brain where deep thinking occurs.

Then there’s orange, which tends to elicit strong reactions due to its close relation to the color red. For design, it can be easy (and obnoxious) to overuse, but it works well as an accent color; such as the accent of star ratings on Google. Orange is a more active color that’s known to make people react via intuition.

In addition to the changes in color, Google seems to have also been playing with edging on their search results, too. In the above screenshot, you can see the first version has harsh edges, whereas the second version with the yellow star ratings has rounded edges. This could be thanks to a keen eye for User Experience (UX).

Rounded edges are often easier on the eyes and appear less bright, making them more accessible to consumers. These edges take less time to process by the eye, and they’re more organic to how we use everyday objects in the real world.

Though there has been no official announcement made, we’re curious to know what your thoughts on the changing colors of Google’s star ratings are. Why do you think Google is playing with diverse colors, and do you have a preference?