As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. We are visual creatures, and images can be a powerful way to capture users’ attention and communicate your message. As networks and devices become more capable of displaying large images, more and more websites incorporate huge, eye-catching images. Often they can’t decide on just one image, so choose instead to display several images in a carousel.
How to Ensure that You Use Images Appropriately
Follow these steps to make sure you have the right balance of elements:
Identify and prioritize all the goals of the page — both the user goals, and the business goals (including brand goals.) Is the page primarily a marketing vehicle to build your brand? Or are most visitors already familiar with your organization (or at least your industry vertical), and now need specific content or functionality?
Define how each design element relates to the page goals. Images are usually decorative, and support branding goals. Navigation and structured search relate to specific user tasks.
Assign visual weight based on goal importance. If a design element supports a high priority goal, it should have more visual emphasis; conversely, design elements related to secondary goals should have less emphasis. (This guideline sounds obvious, but is often completely disregarded, or gets lost along the way to creating a ‘modern’ looking website.)
Select images that have a strong relationship with brand goals. Remember, the purpose of your site is not just to showcase images (unless you’re Flickr). Instead, the images you select should showcase the purpose of your site.
Choose striking visuals that capture attention. Once you’ve identified the goals of your images and their relative importance among other design elements, and you’ve determined what types of images relate to these goals — only then should you focus on selecting the most compelling images you can find.
Be selective about which trends you embrace when ‘updating’ your site. For many redesign projects, creating a site that looks ‘modern’ is an important goal. But there are many ways to accomplish this goal. Typography, layout, and brand colors — just to name a few—can all be effectively used to create a modern look and feel, while still providing appropriate emphasis on critical site functions.