Remember the pixelated designs of the first websites – the clunky fonts and website imagery of the early internet. We’ve come a long way! Today, consumers expect a sleek, high-quality visual experience – from your icons to photography to illustrations.
Learning to speak this language of modern website imagery isn’t just about taste – there’s an art and strategy behind the style.
In this article, we explore the delicate balance between artistic creativity and strategic design when choosing the right images for your site.
What is Website Imagery?
Website imagery is an overarching term referring to the visual elements of your site. That could include a small pictograph or a stylish black-and-white photograph. To create a coherent brand language, these visual elements should work alongside your written content (marrying with its style, font, and colors).
Common examples of web imagery include:
- Hero Images: Large and eye-catching, these images dominate the top of your homepage or other key pages.
- Background Images: Used as a subtle (or not-so-subtle) backdrop to a webpage or section.
- Product Images: Showcase your product in high quality for an eCommerce site.
- Infographics: Visually represents information or data.
- Icons and Symbols: Small images are used to denote a specific function or content.
- SlideShow or Carousel Graphics: These rotating slideshows can display multiple products or content.
- Illustrations or Graphics: Custom drawings and graphics visually enhance the page’s design, serving both as a key message about the brand and as decoration.
Why Website Imagery Matters
First impressions matter – in a split second, your visitors will make a decision about your brand based on the visual look of your site. Actually, they take 50 milliseconds, according to the research.
That means, in the time between blinks, you’ve got to grab their attention, present something visually pleasing, and convey what you do and who you are. Sounds like a big task!
What happens if you get it wrong? Well, 38% of people say they’ll stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. Bam! You’ve lost over a third of your potential customers. Even most of the rest will judge you – 75% of consumers admit to making judgments about a business’s credibility based on their website design.
It’s hardly surprising – people like beautiful, attractive, ingeniously-designed things. That goes for your website imagery, too!
How to Choose the Right Website Imagery
Choosing the right website imagery comes down to three core factors: (1) graphic style, (2) color scheme, and (3) branding and visual consistency.
Let’s dive in!
Are you a modernist architectural firm? Then, monochromatic pictures of your latest projects should adorn your page. Whereas a punk clothing designer might want punchy graphics using lurid colors (and lots of spikes) throughout their web design.
In short: the graphic style mirrors the brand voice.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – we expect pharmaceutical companies to have images of people researching or happily participating in a trial. Doing something different may help you stand out – but it could be for the wrong reasons.
Your website imagery should follow a consistent color scheme – even the photography. Think about the psychological impact of the colors you choose. Blacks, golds, subtle browns, and white highlights indicate luxury and opulence. Yellows and greens, meanwhile, are vibrant, happy, and remind us of spring. Blues are linked to health, passivity, and calmness.
And, of course, red is passion, violence, and action – there’s a reason Ferraris come in red!
Branding and Visual Consistency
Gone with photographs throughout – throwing in a sudden illustration can disorientate your site visitor. You should keep to your brand’s visual language throughout all your website imagery.
Don’t worry; it’s not boring. In fact, it creates a more cohesive, competent appearance than a scattergun approach.
Technical Optimization of Website Imagery
Colors, composition, and consistency all matter when choosing imagery. However, it’s not the only consideration – as mentioned, websites are one part art, the other part technical and strategic. Consider these technical aspects when choosing your website imagery.
Image Size and Page Load Times
Did you know that website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time?
Page load times are a key component of SEO (search engine optimization). The faster consumers bounce or fail to convert, the lower your page ranking.
Large image sizes are one of the critical aspects impacting page load times (alongside videos). Even if your site is a work of art, if it takes 10 seconds to load, you’ve already lost a sizable chunk of your potential audience.
User Experience and Interface
User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) bridge the divide between the art and the strategy of website imagery. Your image composition should be designed in such a way that it improves a user’s experience. The icons and graphics should inform what you want a visitor to do, convey what you sell, and explain how you do it.
They should also be optimized for mobile sites. That means choosing image sizes and layouts that won’t look clunky when shrunk down on a smartphone screen.
Adding Alt Text
Few, if any, business owners think about alt text – however, adding this information to each image is a significant boon to your website imagery. This info helps boost your search engine ranking, providing key information to crawlers about your site.
Moreover, alt text enhances web accessibility, ensuring visually impaired users can understand the content through screen readers. By prioritizing this small detail, you not only improve user experience but also demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and equal access for all visitors.
Carefully crafting your website imagery doesn’t happen overnight, and the best website compositions aren’t accidental. They happened because of continuous collaboration, feedback, and revision.
That’s where Ashore comes in.We help digital creatives collaborate and provide feedback on images and website designs through our online proofing software. Curious? Get started for FREE and transform your visual strategy today!