Understanding Images Within Web Design

Image from craftycopy.co.uk

How do I Choose Images for my Site?

When initially thinking about what specific photos may enhance your site quality, it is important to know what exactly makes an image good in the first place. The “good” images usually have a specific clarity in the realm of both visual and psychological comprehension. In other words, images that communicate and really connect with the audience.

Other things to consider when selecting photos for your website involve prioritizing image relevance by choosing visuals that directly support your content and themes. These things ensure a more positive and meaningful user experience that will boost your site’s overall credibility. By focusing your visuals in line with your content and ideas, you create a harmonious collaboration for your audience and establish a meaningful connection that resonates with the users, ultimately improving the usability experience.

Smaller aspects to be mindful of are things such as selecting only high-resolution images to create the best visual appeal or including photos with people/animals to better engage reader’s attention and create the best direction of gaze. Another smaller thing to consider is the appropriate file formats for specific types of images, such as using JPEG files for the more detailed photographs, and PNG files for graphics with transparency. Following these tips is an essential step toward perfecting your site quality and efficiency.

What these Images Look Like

In this digital age many people are unaware of the vast ways photos can be utilized to engage viewers within their content. When analyzing the specific images typically used to draw reader attention, there are usually two types of visuals they may be attributed to.

 Image from pexels.com

Lifestyle Images: These images typically depict things related to daily life such as fitness/exercise, traveling, or home life with family. These lifestyle photos can be very helpful to your site visitors since they provide context within the natural environment of what you are explaining.

If the information is about a travel destination, readers will not need to visualize the location since the appropriate image of that location solves the issue. If the information is about a specific object or product, a lifestyle image can simply show how it is used for clarification.

Image by Pylyp Sukhenko

Product Images: These photos are usually shown as a product shot or a close-up detailed image highlighting product details. They are great at making users understand the uses of certain things as they are visual representatives for some brands, often showing users first impressions that influence their purchasing decisions.

They are essentially the standout compelling images that show a product’s features and influence a brand’s quality. They are often used on online shopping platforms as a way of visually assessing the things you want to buy. A good example of this type of image is a hero shot showcasing a colorful background with a focus on the product presentation.

Hero Images

Image from Digital Art

These images are known as the important attention-grabbing elements typically displayed at the top of a site or somewhere on the homepage. They serve as the upfront visuals presented to visitors, so they need to make a strong initial impression. These photos are carefully chosen to reflect the essence of a brand or convey the main message. 

Hero images are usually accompanied by bold text or a call-to-action, guiding users through the site’s content. An insufficient image on a webpage can lead to a low-quality site presentation. These elements are the reasons hero images play such a pivotal role in creating a visually appealing and compelling entry point for users.

The primary goal when using hero images is to instantly capture the attention of website visitors and create a memorable first impression, almost as if you are hooking them in. As a web writer, you also have to be able to identify what hero images are helpful in guiding users through the digital experience, so what do good hero images incorporate?

Good Hero Images will typically incorporate:

  • Composition: This is the arrangement and organization of visual elements within the hero image, incorporating things like balance, symmetry, and focal points. 
  • Color Palette: This is the selection of colors within the image including the tone and saturation. They convey the desired mood and align with the brand’s identity. 
  • Typography: This is the use of text alongside the hero image. When using text it is essential to focus on font choice, size, and styling, to deliver a clear message.
  • Contrast: This is the deliberate use of elements within the image that create visual interest and emphasize key components to ensure they stand out. An example of this could be a vibrant and colorful product against a neutral or monochromatic background, creating a striking color contrast.
  • Scale and Proportion: This is the focus on size and dimensions of objects/elements within the hero image, contributing to a balanced and visually pleasing overall composition. An example would be enlarging a main furniture product and reducing the surrounding furniture details.

In the realm of web design, proper usage of these design principles within hero images will ensure that your site has an engaging look and genuine representation of your goals/purpose.

How should I Design these Visuals?

When diving into the ways of creating a professional hero image, it is important to view it as a nuanced process that requires careful consideration and strategic planning. The development begins with a complete understanding of the brand identity and overarching objectives for the website. After establishing the purpose of your visuals you can begin to explore color schemes, typography choices, and compositional elements that will evoke the desired emotional response. A professional approach entails staying up-to-date with current design trends and ensuring alignment with the values of the brand.

Image from Justinmind

Despite the concise guidelines and methods for developing the best hero image, the task proves to be very challenging for a variety of reasons. The main hurdles when attempting to craft an image like this are things that prohibit it from properly expressing your ideas and broad audience variability. There will be many instances where you are not able to just make your images bright and colorful to get the job done.

Writer Ian Hernandez has an article from DreamHost about some of the best ways to create compelling hero images. His main method of enhancing the overall interactivity between the users and visuals is by utilizing call to action (CTA). This is basically when the hero image is used as an interactive catalyst within your site, prompting users to respond to a specific invitation such as making a purchase, subscribing, or exploring the webpage further.

Image from the Urban League of West Michigan

The call to action within hero images serves as a strategic connection between visual appeal and user engagement that influences further exploration into your website. A good way to do this is to craft compelling text overlays paired with the hero image, prompting users to interact and view more of your webpage. You could also try incorporating visually appealing tabs within the hero section that can guide users toward desired pages of interest.

Hernandez writes in his article:

“In a hero image, you can include a call to action (CTA) to motivate users to visit another page on your site. Interactive heroes can also feature carousels, sliders, and other animations. Ultimately, hero images aim to be attractive, engaging, and eye-catching.”

Ian Hernandez from DreamHost

This statement effectively captures the purpose of hero images, emphasizing their role in motivating user engagement and highlighting the many elements that contribute to their overall importance in web design. This quote also directly shows the evolution of hero images from simple visual elements to strategic components that actively guide user navigation.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hi Caleb! I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post this week. Images are something that I always find to be the most fun and enjoyable part of any project or any piece of work. Coincidentally, the images you used in this post are so nice to look at and really add to the message you are trying to convey. I also enjoy the way you broke down the information with headings, page breaks, and subheadings. I particularly enjoyed the way that you wrote and the way you articulated the information in an easy yet impactful way. When it comes to images, something that always comes to mind is how images have been turned into content for corporations via mediums like social media. This is an article about how one can use images to enhance content on social media specifically. Most importantly, this emphasizes how important images are in any context and how beneficial they can be to interpreting and conveying information. This was a great blog post and I really feel like it will help me in the long run when it comes time for projects that need images.

  2. Hi, Caleb. Images are so important to web design, and I’m glad you were able to write an in-depth article that goes beyond “here are some image formats”–having a whole, giant section dedicated to hero images was a smart idea. Once I got to your part about how to design these images for yourself, I began to think about the plague of AI-generated images that have invaded digital spaces. Many people are relying on these fake images instead of taking the time to look for someone’s real photo. From this Business Insider article, I found that, not even a year ago, it was reported that con artists were using AI-generated photos of real celebrities to create ads leading to fraudulent websites. Other con artists have created fake disaster aftermath photos to entice others to donate to their associated charity: themselves. It’s been disheartening seeing the rise of AI content throughout the past years, and I can only hope designers will continue to make their own, original content.

    Link: https://www.businessinsider.in/tech/news/ai-generated-images-and-videos-a-game-changer-or-a-threat-to-authenticity/articleshow/99560443.cms

  3. Hi Caleb,

    Your blog post this week does a great job at providing a guide to improve user experience regarding imagery on websites. What I found particularly valuable in your post is the detailed breakdown of key design elements in hero images, and the in-depth process of creating compelling the visuals. While exploring this topic, I came across an article by Ian Hernandez from DreamHost, which further emphasizes the importance of hero images. His emphasis on using hero images as strategic components further proves your point of these visuals as important regarding user navigation. What intrigues me about this topic is visual elements in shaping user experiences continuing to change. This was a great post this week, thank you!

    Article: https://www.dreamhost.com/blog/homepage-hero-design/

  4. Caleb, I really enjoyed reading your post! As expected, I found your images to be very helpful in explaining your points, and I really appreciated the way that your information was structured. Your explanations were clear and helpful, and I found your post to be a great resource for choosing images for our current website project. Whenever I begin a design project (whether it be a website, infographic, etc.), I outline my information and then immediately move on to finding images, as they tend to shape the rest of the design for me. The hero image is especially important, and it’s the one that I always take the longest time finding and formatting because it sets the tone for the whole project. While researching more, I found an interesting article by Katrina Kirsch on Hubspot about how to make hero images stand out from other websites. She suggests things like using simple color pallets, cropping the image into abstract shapes, and using realistic shadows to create a 3D effect.
    Link: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/hero-image

  5. Hi Caleb! I really enjoyed your blog post this week. I especially liked the way you incorporated images in your post: they felt very organic and complemented your content well. Your content as a whole was very well organized, and I like the way you broke down each section. I don’t usually think too much about how I incorporate images or even what images I’m using, so this post will help me in the future, especially for the website project. I found a post that talks about best practices for using images in blogs, so I thought that was worth checking out. Great job on your blog post!
    Link: https://www.ryrob.com/blog-images/#:~:text=Always%20choose%20copyright%2Dfree%20images,engines%20and%20for%20accessibility%20purposes.

  6. Hi Caleb, I really enjoyed your post! Like the topic of your post, you used a lot of great visuals. I think the distinction between lifestyle and product images, accompanied by relevant examples, helps readers understand how different visuals serve specific purposes. Lifestyle images, portraying daily activities, add context to the content, while product images focus on highlighting details for effective communication. I also liked your exploration of hero images as attention-grabbing elements at the top of a site or homepage. The breakdown of key design elements, including composition, color palette, typography, contrast, and scale, provides a clear framework for creating impactful hero images. As well as I think a good hero image can elevate your traffic and conversions by making people want to interact with your site. I found an article that goes more in-depth on the topic of them as they are an important part of web design. It explores why they are important like you mentioned, the types of graphics used, and practices to make them most effective some of which you mentioned as well!

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