Avoid photo fluff
Online visitors scrutinize some photos and ignore others. So how do you post images that get attention on the Web?
Make sure your images are content, counsels “king of usability” Jakob Nielsen — not decoration.
Avoid ‘visual bloat’
Online, readers are looking for two kinds of images, Nielsen says:
- Product photos that help visitors buy
- People photos that show visitors who’s behind the organization or message
What about photos that just illustrate the idea or message? Cut that fluff. Anyone who’s studied online images knows that people are looking for facts, not pretty pictures, on the Web.
“Visual bloat continues to annoy users,” Nielsen says. So:
- Avoid stock photos of generic people. Don’t use photos as filler or to “jazz up” a page. ”On the Web, jazzed-up = ignored,” Nielsen says.
- Use product photos to help visitors buy. In one study, visitors intensely studied thumbnails of bookcases on the Pottery Barn site, but ignored thumbnails of flat-screen TVs on the Amazon site. Why? ”The TV photos are of no help in deciding between the products,” Nielsen says. “A guy in a canoe vs. a football player? What, because I watch more football than watersports, I’ll buy the TV showing a football player?”
- Offer big photos when asked. When users click to see a larger photo, it should be at least twice as big as the original. Most are just 20 percent larger, Nielsen says. That’s why “inadequate photo enlargement” ranks on his list of top 10 Web design mistakes.