People are very visually oriented. We look at things and evaluate based upon what we see. If something is visually appealing, we tend to look longer and explore more deeply. The converse is also true, if something is not visually appealing, we tend to look away — or, on the web, click away — and look elsewhere.
Photos and other visuals either help tell your story or get in the way of your story; however, they are rarely neutral in effect. Take, for example, the way Apple has designed their products over the last few years. They could have chosen to simply create a functional product that does all we want, but they understood that users wanted something that was visually appealing as well. Their success with their laptops, iMacs, iPhones and iPads is due not simply to great technology, but also to the elegance of design.
Apple makes us want to use their products by the way they design not only the physical product but the interface itself. Their attention to design details is also evident on their website. It is clean, crisp and relates very well to the type of products they are selling. And they do this primarily through images and video that reinforce this message.
The graphics you use on your site need to be carefully thought through and used in a way that communicates your corporate message. Look at your website graphics with a critical eye. Do they convey your message well? Do they look as if they were designed to work together to tell your story?
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
— Steve Jobs
The above quote by Steve Jobs is also true of your website. Your site should never simply be a series of connected pages, but it should be a story that is told through your design and invites the visitor to explore your site, your products and your services in more detail.
What does this mean? In the product images below, what are your eyes drawn to? They are drawn to the photo displayed on the products, not the products themselves. The products could have been displayed without an image, but then they lose some of their appeal, don’t they? Similarly, your images on your site need to be more than simply a photo, but a photo, an image, that conveys what you do and how you work, to use Jobs’ words.
The graphics, the photos and other images on your site create an immediate impression for the visitor. The key question is, “What kind of impression do they create”?
Is the impression one of professionalism? Of credibility? Of attention to detail? If so, they are likely to stay on your site and explore other pages on your site.
What is being referred to here is what is known as “bounce rate”, or the percentage of those who visit your site and leave after seeing only one page of your site.
Generally speaking, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent, 41 to 55 percent is roughly average, and 56 to 70 percent is higher than average. While 25% bounce rate may seem high, it is actually quite good, given the way people surf the web. The closer you can bring your bounce rate to 25%, the more successful your site will be. And your photos and other images can play a critical role in this regard.
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