Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Web Design Tips: 3 Ways to Use Images for Better Results

by Kelsey Hawke

When it comes to web design, a picture is worth a thousand words. Many web surfers have notoriously short attention spans and a well-chosen image or graphic can capture interest and communicate meaning in the blink of an eye. In other words, one picture can instantly say what entire paragraphs of text alone cannot. Without question, images are a great way to transform a so-so web design project into one that produces stellar results.

Here are 3 Ways to Use Images to Improve Web Design

Grab Attention - and Keep It

It almost goes without saying that the images selected for a web design project need to be visually interesting and compelling. However, there is an art to finding the right images for each page. Pictures and graphics should be of superior quality and they should relate well to the other design elements. Further, the selected images should also support the story or point of view each page is trying to convey. An image may be great at capturing attention, but if it doesn't relate directly to the content and overall intent of that specific page, it can end up distracting or confusing your audience. 

Therefore, when selecting an image for a web design project, be sure to consider how well that one piece fits into the rest of the design puzzle.    

Enhance Search Engine Optimization Efforts

Carefully chosen images are also a great way to garner better search engine rankings for your web design efforts. Although search engine spiders don't index any text contained within an image, there are still a few things you can do to make your images more search engine friendly. For starters, make sure you include descriptive file names when uploading your images to your web site. This is because search engines are better able to assign meaning to a file named "YourKeywordHere.jpg," than they can to one simply named "0002979.jpg." By the same token, take the time to complete the alt text description for each image. This will not only help the search engines figure out what each image is about, but will also help your web visitors in the event your images ever fail to load properly. 

However, avoid over-stuffing either of these areas with keywords as this can actually harm your site's rankings.  

Adopt a "Less is More" Strategy

One or two well-placed images can go a long way in terms of improving your web design projects. In other words, a limited number of great images on a page can greatly enhance its intended message and visual appeal. However, you will want to avoid going overboard with this design element because adding too many images can make an otherwise strong page look disorganized and cluttered. When this happens, your intended message can get lost as your audience jumps around the page trying to figure out how it all ties together.
    By applying these strategies, you can use images to transform any web design project into something truly extraordinary.

    About the Author

    Kelsey Hawke is a Marketing Coordinator at Western Reserve Internet Services, a South Florida and Cleveland web design company. WRIS also offers web development and industrial internet marketing services.