Is a picture really worth a thousand words? (Part I)

We’ve all heard this saying and it’s certainly true that a picture has an immediacy that words struggle to match.  So much information is instantly available in a picture.

What does this mean for websites?

Does this mean you should tell your story with lots of images,  slick graphics and few words? Not necessarily. Certainly an attractive site encourages people to stick around and there’s no doubt that high quality images and cool graphics can enhance a user’s experience but it’s not all positive.

The downside of images

Too many images, images that are too large or too much Flash content can be counter productive on your website. I’ll deal with the Flash issue in another post so let’s stick to images for the moment. Too many images and images that are large increase the time it takes to load a page. These days not only are we all very busy but we’re also way more IMPATIENT than we used to be.

We’ve come to expect instaneity (is that really a word or did I make it up?). If a website takes too long to load we won’t wait around, we’ll go elsewhere . And if that happens it doesn’t matter how well your pictures tell your story or how cool your iste is there won’t be anybody there to see it! And if you think I’m teaching my grandma to suck eggs and that everyone know this, then just take a look around the web, there are plenty of sites that “image-heavy” and slow to load. And… (here’s the plug for copywriters) make sure the words on your page attract attention; tell your story clearly and get your spelling right! Nothing looks quite so tacky as a slickly designed site with misspelled words!

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