Why images on your website matter

Because they do IMHO.

Images on websites are like copy. They’re a key component that makes up a website. Without good images (and I’ll explain what I mean by that in a minute) your website isn’t going to jump out of the screen and smack your user in the face. There’s no sizzle. But at the same time if you just had copy and no images you’d struggle to keep your users attention. Copy is like the steak and images are like the sizzle. You get me?

I get that its early for this and a large number of people, customers and designers alike, don’t get that images on websites are as important as good copy. Right now most of the images we use as web designers and developers are after thoughts, part of the whole we add in at the last minute. We squeeze and wrangle them in to place rather than using images specifically shot for that part of the site design.

We kinda get product images. They have to be specifically taken for that product. But often, unless they come from the suppliers of the products, they’re often not great. We get so far in understand how important these things are then we just miss out at the last hurdle.

What’s a good image for a website though?

Well as I’m a photographer, you’re probably thinking its about amazing photos that make you go ‘wow’. Well no, not quite.

For me there’s two parts that make up a really good image for the web:

  1. Fit for purpose

An image on a website should be fit f0r purpose. That means you don’t crush it in to a space that it doesn’t physically fit into . If you’re having to cut off someone’s head to fit that image in to a banner on a homepage then you’re doing it wrong.

You shouldn’t have to stretch a small image to make it fit on a website. If its pixelated you’re not doing it right. Don’t think you do it as a web designer? Well there’s a ton of people working on the web that do, trust me.

An image on a website should say something. It shouldn’t be an unrelated or vague piece of content. If you’re a coffee shop and you’ve got a picture of a cup of coffee on your homepage, it should be one of your cups, with your coffee in it, at your shop counter.

2. Technically good

Ok here comes the photography bit. Yeah an image used on the web, thats taken for a reason, is not just a snap shot and is meant to say something should be technically good. Not great necessarily but good for sure.

Technically good means the right bits of the image are in focus, are sharp, that the grain on the image doesn't destroy the quality of the image for the viewer. These things make a difference. Now there’s artistic interpretation and thats fine but artistic images are still technically good. They’re shot well. Composed well. Thought through. Help sell the product or service.

Images on websites are the sizzle. They help tie up all the parts of a website and help make it look awesome. Yeah you can get by with out them and by using mediocre ones but if you can get the best images you can get why would you settle for less?

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