Don’t Let Poor Photos Ruin User Experience

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Hurray! Your website is almost done. All that’s left to do is to add some pictures.

But wait! Before you grab a random stock photo on the internet, there are some things you should

Images are very important when it comes to your company branding. It defines your company, product and service and tells customers what you are about. It can be difficult, expensive and time consuming to build a trustworthy brand. This is why you need to choose pictures carefully. Companies need to pay attention not only to the pictures they use but also how they are using them. Mistakes can make even the most attractive photo have a negative effect on your brand.

The Problem With Stock Photos

Using stock photos seem like an easy way to add pictures to your website. They are very accessible and affordable (in some cases free). But before using stock photos, you should think about the impact it may have on user experience. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what could your stock photo be saying?

Stock photos are designed to be used by many people. A single photo shoot turns out hundreds of photos that can be used for a variety of purposes. This means that a single photo can be purchased thousands of times and used for thousands of different reasons. In other words, stock photos are an easy way to provide visual content but it does not encourage customer trust.

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This photo of a doctor for example is a stock photo taken off the internet. The picture looks good and has good resolution for its size. It can be used by real doctor who want to advertise their website but it can also be used by websites selling something else. If they are selling something illegal or sinister, this can impact your brand negatively.

Photos and Branding

The images you use should help your brand, not impede it. Unfortunately, stock photos have the power to do the latter. When used correctly, a photo can help create a visual identity for the brand. Without an image to associate the brand with, customers will form their own perceptions based on what they have experienced. Customers also form perceptions using your logos, typography and colours and employees and other brand representatives.

Selecting Photos For Your Brand

Planning the perfect images to use for your website needs careful thought and consideration. Firstly you need to understand your potential users. Think about your users and how they will interpret your images. Create user personas during the creation process and keep those characters in mind when selecting photos.

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The right image can help create a powerful visual representation that strengthens your branding efforts. Here are some tips for selecting images:

  • Use images that evoke emotion.
  • Use images with customers in it.
  • Use images that can be manipulated to match the brand.
  • Use images that show some sort of action.
  • Use images that tell a story.

Images are more than just photos. It can also include infographics, typographic images, illustrations and charts. These types of images can send powerful messages compared to stock photos. Your visual content should support the brand while providing utility to the user.

Understanding how to leverage imagery for branding and user experience should be every website designer’s goal.

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