While solid web design is crucial to a positive user experience, the images and graphics you use in that design are just as important. People are visual creatures, especially when they're browsing the internet. Carefully chosen photos are essential to connecting with and making your customers feel comfortable on your website.
Aside from being a basic web design principle, there are more reasons you want to ensure you have relevant, high-quality images on your website. These design elements are crucial for a solid user experience. (Pro tip: Make sure they are properly sized for responsive design purposes.)
One of the pillars of storytelling is "show, not tell." While this traditionally has been used to encourage writers to use description better, it has a more literal meaning in web design. Your website should "show" through pictures whenever possible.
Words will always be important, especially for conveying any necessary information. But that doesn't mean that people want to be inundated with text when they visit your website. Visual information is not only nicer to look at, it's also easier to process.
Creating an emotional response with your visual elements is a great way to connect with internet users and engage them in your content. Showing how your product solves a problem, creates a difference, or just makes life a little easier is more persuasive than just telling them about how life-changing your product or service can be.
Which is more likely to connect with you: a pool builder telling you about their high-end service or pictures of their amazing builds? A company telling you that their candles are modern and fit in with any decor or pictures showing their candles in use? Having product photos prominently displayed on your website allows users to easily imagine your product in their space, making them that much more likely to buy.
When you optimize your images with search-friendly metadata and captions creates more content for search engines to index. This metadata and caption information essentially doubles the opportunity for users to find your website through both web searchers and image searches. It's important to ensure your alt tags and titles describe your image and relate to page content to take full advantage of this SEO boost.
The best way to snag attention on a crowded social media platform: great photos. Photos and videos are the ultimate scroll-stopper. Studies show that social media posts with images have higher engagement rates than those with just text. Using the same high-quality photos on your website and in your social content is a great way to bring continuity to these two and increase your online presence.
There are some no-brainers when it comes to choosing photos or graphics to use on your website. You want them to be crisp and clear. You want them to be relevant. You want them to reinforce your brand's color palette. You want them to be sized so that they load quickly, especially for responsive design purposes.
People like to see other people on your website. Bonus points if they are your actual staff or customers. Prominently showcasing real people interacting with your business and product makes your content more relatable to your customers. They want to feel like there's a human element to your website, not just a page of code trying to tell them what they want to hear in order to make a sale.
As important as images are, you need to pick images with a purpose, not just to fill white space or because we're telling you that you need them. The pictures you choose should either show relevant information, prove a point you talk about elsewhere, or convey a feeling that supports your message. When picking images, there are two important questions to ask yourself:
Banner and background images are a great way to fill white space while creating a unique atmosphere on your website and giving your visitors an immediate idea of what your website is about. It's important to take extra care when using background images because they can make your website feel messy. So test those background images with a test audience before launching them.
Images can support your brand, engage your users, and effectively promote your content throughout your digital properties. Businesses that effectively use images on their website and marketing pieces have a leg up on businesses that struggle to find and use engaging images. Now's a great time to do an audit of the images on your site to see if they're supporting your brand or taking away from the overall user experience.