Visitors tune out superfluous pictures
When BNSF Railroad put a photo of a train on its homepage, visitors ignored it.
Moreover, they had trouble finding the top stories they were looking for.
Visitors tune out irrelevant images.
And those images make it harder for visitors to find the information they actually want, according to a 2005 eyetracking study by Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice Coyne.
What visitors saw
Readers DO look at images that:
- Are related to the content
- Are clear
- Feature approachable people (those smiling and looking at the camera)
- Feature areas of private anatomy
Readers ignore images with little information.
Avoid generic images.
So replace irrelevant graphics with useful ones or white space.
“For example,” Coyne said, “if an article is about a signature meal at a restaurant, say a tuna dish, display a scrumptious-looking picture of the plate of food. Don’t show a generic picture of a spoon and fork, as many sites do.”
Sources: Laura Ruel and Nora Paul, “Eyetracking points the way to effective news article design,” Online Journalism Review, March 13, 2007