In this era of visual digital communications we don’t need to convince you that images grab attention. It’s no accident that popular social media like Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are based on imagery.
We must therefore all realise that a business website needs imagery too if it is to make an impact. What you may not have considered is just how crucial that choice of imagery is in dictating the long-term performance of your website.
Our clients at Dentons Digital engage us to build their small business websites, which they naturally hope are going to bring in business. Our SEO experts can, and do, bring in the visitors using the tricks of their trade, but it takes clever UX (User Experience) design to ensure that site visitors not only enjoy their first visit, but want to repeat it.
Imagery is a hugely important element in UX design. It’s not just a case of making a page look pretty! Our website designers explain to our clients that the pictures and videos on their new site will reflect their brand and values, and need to be relevant.
Besides their illustrative value the images featured will also have the almost subliminal power to generate emotions, establish trust, entertain, amuse, set a mood – you get the picture?
Yes, we hear you cry! We understand that, but if my business is an accountancy practice what sort of images can I use to project what we do and how we do it? Will pictures of spreadsheets do the trick?
This is where the designer’s creativity comes in, supported by a few hard and fast rules that all web designers – especially those trained in UX – know and love:
Any imagery should be of high quality. If you can stretch to it invest in professional photography and/or illustrators. If professional photography is beyond the budget, at the very least use a good digital camera to take some bespoke images for your website yourself (or rope in a friend who enjoys photography). Only if all else fails should you rely on stock images, because being generic there is no way they will accurately reflect the true identity and ethos of your business.
Never use an image just as a“filler”. An image that is irrelevant, used purely as fluff, does nothing to enhance user experience and serves no purpose. An image on a website – like the text – should be answering the users’ question of “who,what,where,when,why and how” this website is all about.
Images of real people are great! Research has shown that pictures of genuine staff or customers generate trust in a business/product/service. This is why it is a good idea to include an “About Us” page with staff photographs in your website. Photographs of people can also be artfully used by web designers to guide users. It’s been proved, for example, that a phenomenon called “eye-tracking” exists, whereby the gaze of viewers tends to follow the direction indicated by the eyes of person in a photograph. This technique can be used to ensure the user notices and reads an important block of text, or call to action.
This article has provided just a small glimpse into the power and importance of the website image in communicating with users. There are all sorts of other factors – beyond those mentioned here – which website designers take into account when creating a high functioning UX website. These include image size, positioning, resolution, context and so on.
When you come to Dentons Digital for website design, you will be assigned as a client to one of our professional design team who will work with you to produce a site that not only looks enviably good, but performs above expectations in all respects. Part of this process will include advice and assistance with choosing perfect pictures for your website.