Te Ara is surely one of the most colourful encyclopedias ever. Along with our colourful images and videos, each story has a colour scheme selected from a choice of 50. The colour schemes have rather lovely names (given to them by Brian Smith from Shift), such as martinborough, kea, congo, flax and reinga. Since Te Ara’s redesign last year each colour scheme also has its own subtle ‘texture’, taken from images of New Zealand plants, objects, animals etc, such as these:
The colour scheme for each story is chosen to complement the ‘hero’ (main) image on its front page, which also contains the ‘short story’ summary.
The idea behind the numerous colours was to make such a large site feel diverse and interesting, rather than always applying the same look to every … single … page.
Recently we looked at which colour schemes we’ve used the most often. Here are our finalists:
3rd-equal, with 26 stories each:
Martinborough – http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/filipinos
2nd with 29 stories:
1st-equal, with 31 stories each:
Takahe – http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/railways
The least popular were ghana (http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/possums) and tinakori (http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/dutch). Their unpopularity is a mystery to me, as they both seem like perfectly nice colours. Colours that are hated by some of our team, like coral (http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/seafood) and dawn (http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/maori-pakeha-relations) have ended up being used quite a bit, perhaps to spite them.
But, we wondered, is there any correlation between the most popular stories and the popular colour schemes?
Here are our top 10 stories, and their colour schemes:
10. Matariki – Māori New Year – matariki
9. Historic volcanic activity – glacier
8. Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer – kenya
7. Coastal fish – geyser
6. Dairying and dairy products – congo
5. Deep-sea creatures – maomao
4. Gold and gold mining – ruru
3. Historic earthquakes – ruru
2. History of immigration – ngauruhoe
1. Samoans – ngauruhoe
Ok, so maybe not. Only two of the top colours made it into the top 10. Interestingly, ngauruhoe and ruru both have two top-10 entries – perhaps that nice rich red-brown of ngauruhoe attracts readers?
Which of our colour schemes do you like? And are there any that you hate? You can see the range of colour schemes by refreshing our homepage, as the colour scheme changes each time. (We promise this isn’t an attempt to garner more page views!)