Amlan Sarkar

A Designers Guide to Wowing Users with the Right Pictures

Photography is a powerful medium of expression. As both UX design and photography are visually-oriented disciplines, photography can be used to establish the brand image of a product/services very effectively. A picture is worth a thousand words. When words fail, a well-placed photograph can convey the message at a single glance itself.

While designers understand the value of photography in wooing their audiences, they still need to be extra cautious while selecting photographs to be used in their design. Irrelevant, out of place, and inferior quality photographs can ruin the essence of a design even if all other parameters look great. There are some golden rules for using visuals in UI/UX design. Designers who wish to wow their users with visuals can follow these guidelines, which we have explored in detail in this blog.

Use only High-Quality Photographs

Web designers must do their homework properly before finalizing the photograph they intend to use in their design. As said earlier, a blurry, low-quality, pixelated photograph can do more harm than good to the design. In this regard, our advice is that designers should stick to using high-quality photographs only. They can either hire a professional photographer or select from stock photographs available on the internet. Stock photographs can be purchased or are even available for free as well. Such stock photographs work well for more generic requirements. We, at Team Codesign, usually rely on websites like Freepik, Unsplash, Pexels, etc.

Avoid Stereotyping

Smiling faces, crisp business attire, perfectly shot images; are all correct, but all too common. They tend to become monotonous. Considering everyone uses them, a good UX designer will look at unique ways of choosing images that convey the same message, without looking repetitive.

Ensure Proper Captions

Photographs contain a lot of light as well as dark areas. Designers should always remain vigilant while captioning such a photograph. Captions must effectively convey the combined message of the photograph and the text used to caption the photograph. One of the methods of ensuring the same is to work out a solution to resolve the contrast problem. Listed below are a few tips for resolving the contrast problem:

  • Add an overlay.
  • Decrease the image contrast.
  • Add an extra layer of colorization.
  • Add drop shadow to the text

Be Conscious of the Relevance of your Pictures

Designers use photographs to enhance the capability of their design to tell a story emphatically. The appeal of a photograph is multiple times more than the text. A user usually reacts to visuals faster than text. Keeping in mind the above analogy, designers should ensure that the content matches the visuals, and both the text and the image complement each other with complete synchronization.

The use of unrelated photographs creates confusion amongst users. Such random use of unrelated photographs may lead the user to leave the website in the blink of an eye. This, in turn, increases the bounce rate of a website. Thus, the relationship between the text and the photograph should be strong enough to effectively narrate the product goal in unison.

Apply the concept of 'Less is More'

Our previously written blog, ‘Why Less in More in UX Design?’ discusses the concept of ‘less is more’ in-depth. The same principle is applicable here as well. A combination of simple, clutter-free text and image will work wonders for the designers. Such visuals can easily grab the attention of the users and serve the desired purpose with minimum fuss.

Do you know that posts with visuals produce 650 percent higher engagement than text only posts? The human brain is a highly visual creature. It processes images 60,000 times faster than text and more than 90% of information that gets transmitted to the brain is visual. Thus, photos are a very powerful tool in design and must be chosen very prudently. They have the power to inspire, motivate, engage your audience and also cross language barriers in an instant. Furthermore, every UX designer must think about images in terms of their usabilities. All images used in a design/website must reinforce user experience.