How to Choose Effective Website Photos and Images, Part 3
March 19, 2010
Sandra Niehaus continues her series of great articles about the use of using photos effectively in websites.
This article continues a series of guidelines to help you with website image selection. Part 1, covered some general principles to consider. Part 2 discussed ways to use images to support your company’s brand. In this article she will discuss ways to deal with a tricky image element — the human face.
Using faces in photos on your website presents some unique challenges. I’ll group these challenges into two major groups for this article: “Faces draw attention” and ”Faces don’t mean the same thing to everyone.”
Major Challenge #1: Faces Draw Attention
People look at faces. That’s just how we’re built, as humans. We look at eyes and mouths in particular to help us identify the person, their mood, and their intent towards us.
This can pose a problem for websites if faces are not used carefully. A face — or faces — in a prominent location on your web page can easily distract attention away from your product, message, or call to action. In other words, faces can become a true detriment to your website.
For example, take a look at the Shutterfly home page:
Since I’ve had to shrink down the size quite a bit for inclusion here, the distraction effect is a bit exaggerated. But you can see, even at this size, how the faces on the page attract your attention — to the detriment of the “Learn more” and “Go” buttons. It’s a tough challenge for a photo product site, to be sure!
As another example, take this on-site promotion from Target.com:
This is a pleasing ad with a strong, clear message. But theNow, given enough time a visitor would eventually see the main call to action in this promotion. If you missed it the first time, take another look — it’s the “Shop These Looks” text link. The models’ faces are pleasing, but they are a much stronger element than the call to action.
Suggestions for Dealing with This Issue
Turn the face towards your offering
You can use the attractive power of a face by turning it towards your product or call to action. Depending on the context, this can help direct your visitor’s attention to the area you want them to peruse. This full article can be found at http://www.wilsonweb.com/design/niehaus-choosing-images3.htm