Why and how image content has a big role in web design

A web design is nothing without images. And images are taking on a greater role in web design now than ever before. Not only do high-quality images give a website a professional look and feel, but they also communicate a message, are mobile-friendly and help to build trust.

Visual content is known to increase clicks, engagement and revenue. But more than that, consumers want to see images on a website. Not only do images make a page feel less cumbersome and easier to digest, they enhance the message in the text.

Images need to be relevant

The communication of images is a huge contributing factor. Given most online readers only skim the text, a picture fills in the gaps they miss in the body of the article. Which is why internet users want relevant images, rather than decorative photos that have only been used to serve the purpose of filling up the page and breaking up the text.

Yes, images are essential to web design, but there is a deeper psychology that requires web designers and publishers to use relevant images. Studies using eye-scanning software show that internet users view images using several basic principles:

  • ‍People are drawn to quality images and consider size, composition, quality and exposure the most important factors
  • ‍Consumers respond more to images that have emotional, rational or brand appeal
  • ‍Readers prefer images that communicate a message

Images that compliment a product or service, appeal to consumers on an emotional level and fit with the brand are the most compelling images. But as a web designer, you also have to contemplate where to place the image to draw the eyes of customers towards the most important aspects of the page.

Images on mobile devices

Mobile devices have made it more difficult for web designers to include certain images. Because of slow internet speeds, images need to be compressed, so your web page loads up quickly. They also have to fit smaller screens.

Sometimes it might be better not to use an image, but the fact of the matter is, you need images that communicate to create a better user experience on mobile devices. And as we move towards a mobile-first index, images will become even more necessary for creating mobile-friendly websites.

Responsive images

When I build websites I use the latest technology on the web. As I craft a design, clever coding in the background creates different variants of the images I upload; scaled for different device sizes. The browser then loads the best image based on the screen size and resolution.

Mobile loading times
Responsive images allow much quicker loading times - which is wonderful!

Responsive images
‍In this example, the 500px variant loads 95% faster than the 3500px original. Which is great news for your mobile users.

Time to get personal

Furthermore, there is a trust issue among online users and brands. Customers are much more receptive to businesses they trust. And publishing images that invite online visitors on for a virtual behind-closed-doors view of your company helps generate trust. Therefore, post pictures of your office, employees, events and write content boasting about your accomplishments.

Images have always had a huge role to play in advertising campaigns, but perhaps no more so in the modern age of the internet. An online business is essentially a faceless business, and because of the amount of cyber-crime, online businesses face an extra hurdle.

So while images are important, choosing the right images for your brand, and giving your customers a visual insight into your company is essential when it comes to improving your online reputation and brand image.

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