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People on the internet are like children during story time, we need pictures to go along with your words. They help break up an entire page of type, complement your thoughts, and are easy to share on other sites. Essentially, they keep us from getting distracted elsewhere...or from being not impressed.
Just like I mentioned in my last post, good content involves conversation. Did you know of Invisible Children before a few months ago? If not, chances are the way you found out about them was through a little video called Kony 2012. While the campaign was ultimately dismantled, it wasn’t before they started a worldwide conversation and racked up thousands of dollars in support. I doubt they would’ve been able to do that if it required everyone to read for 40 minutes instead of watching it.
If that doesn’t convince you of the power of an image, remind yourself that Buzzfeed.com turns a profit – and 90% of its “articles” are lists of pictures. One of the subreddits with the most subscribers, /r/awww, is a collection of cute photos. There is a tumblr that is completely dedicated to charts that has thousands of followers.
Remember our Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook posts? Those apply here. The easiest way for users to throw content your way is to take a picture or video of it – it takes a phone and a few clicks. Viola! Now you have new images for your site and users are thinking about you, but how you utilize them is even more important.
The first impression I have of a website is its design. Media makes the second impression, and, like I said in my previous post, good writing is what keeps me there. Because those three elements melt together to form a site, they also need to be tied together in thought from the very first moment.
The New York Times spends hours a day picking out the best picture for their front page, Huffington Post also strategically picks pictures that will get the most clicks. You should do all of that too.
Take a look at the well-known nonprofit Charity Water. It gives you the option of reading about the annual September campaign or watch a video about it on the homepage. Both showcase powerful images that are not easy to escape and dare you to explore the rest of the site. Every page on their website has a photo, video, or graphic at the top. Scroll down and you will see the words and graphics molding around each other, creating a seamless and fun-to-explore page.
However, you don’t need tons of awesome images on every page. You can simply use one to draw people in. The experience blog for the annual AIDS Lifecycle (one of our clients), uses a fun photo of a woman riding her bike in a Superwoman costume to capture your attention and get you to scroll down to see what the festivities is all about. Two of our other clients use photo or graphic slides at the top of their sites to get their messages out from the beginning: DrawToGive.com and COHealthInitiative.org. Each slide correlates with the topic of the page that it links to. You know what you’re getting when you click.
You can’t design a site around a picture or a video that hasn’t been picked yet. While you don’t need to know the specific picture, video, or graphic, you need to know what you want to get across with it. Do you want to tug on heartstrings like Charity Water or do you want to get people to join in on the fun like AIDS Lifecycle? What images fit the personality that comes across in your words? How do you want to use your images? After that brainstorm, design can take over the mold them together into a seamless site and effective site. But, as always, you need the storm before the double rainbow (but someone still isn't impressed).