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Using images to set context

From: User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

Video: Using images to set context

Whether you're running an ecommerce site or you are just advertising your company's products or services online, you're at a disadvantage compared to real-life showrooms. When people shop for items in the real world they like to reach out and touch them and get a sense of things like shape, size, and manufacturing quality. That's harder to do online. No matter how many words you use people are going to want to see the product. The best thing you can do is use high quality photos and sometimes even videos to get visitors as close as possible to get a showroom or a shop experience.

Using images to set context

Whether you're running an ecommerce site or you are just advertising your company's products or services online, you're at a disadvantage compared to real-life showrooms. When people shop for items in the real world they like to reach out and touch them and get a sense of things like shape, size, and manufacturing quality. That's harder to do online. No matter how many words you use people are going to want to see the product. The best thing you can do is use high quality photos and sometimes even videos to get visitors as close as possible to get a showroom or a shop experience.

Make sure you provide several views of the product and that the pictures can be zoomed to see even the smallest of details. Another thing that's important is to help customers see the size of the things you sell. For instance, if you're a manufacturer of 3D printers to the uninitiated they may all look like large beige boxes. Showing relative size by having a person in the shot or having the printer set up in an office or a machine shop environment will prevent shocks later on. Another thing to display is what the product does. Show it in action or show what it produces using our 3D printer example again it'll be great to show the quality of some of the items that the printer can create.

For a waffle maker, show how scrumptious the waffles it makes look when they come out of the machine. What's important is to get as close as possible to letting people reach out and touch the item. Multiple angles, high-resolution zoom, and seeing the product in its natural environment can all help here. Interestingly the same thing is true for pure information sites. Images help users understand the concepts you are trying to get across to them, just as long as the images are chosen to be good examples of the topic being discussed. As an example look at the images that sites like WebMD use in comparison to the sites that some medical services companies use.

The medical services companies tend to have pictures of models dressed in medical clothes like scrubs or doctor's coats doing generic things like looking at a computer screen or writing on clipboards. These pictures say nothing about the service. In comparison the images on the health information sites are much more task-focused giving helpful information about the topic that's being discussed. So whether you are adding images to describe your product or to describe your topic you need to consider what your visitors need. That is clear, helpful pictures that let them we see the important concepts at a glance.

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This video is part of

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User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

52 video lessons · 26612 viewers

Chris Nodder
Author

 
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  1. 1m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
  2. 4m 37s
    1. Building a site for your visitors
      1m 29s
    2. Understanding how people browse the web
      45s
    3. It's all about information
      48s
    4. What causes people to leave sites?
      1m 35s
  3. 3m 50s
    1. Simple design
      1m 9s
    2. Consistent design
      1m 11s
    3. Standard design
      1m 30s
  4. 20m 55s
    1. Elements of navigation
      1m 21s
    2. Content has a structure
      2m 18s
    3. Understanding menus
      3m 19s
    4. Reviewing some menu myths
      2m 4s
    5. Working with site maps
      1m 5s
    6. Adding search to your site
      2m 53s
    7. Understanding links
      3m 43s
    8. Exploring clickable elements
      1m 18s
    9. Understanding Fitts's Law
      2m 54s
  5. 11m 19s
    1. People can begin from any page on your site
      1m 24s
    2. Elements every web page should have
      3m 25s
    3. Creating progressive navigation
      3m 22s
    4. Arranging your content
      3m 8s
  6. 8m 7s
    1. How people read on the web
      2m 31s
    2. Writing for information exchange
      1m 43s
    3. Formatting pages for information exchange
      3m 53s
  7. 7m 21s
    1. Using your homepage as a site summary
      1m 50s
    2. Creating fresh content
      1m 20s
    3. Displaying navigation and search
      1m 25s
    4. The five-second test
      2m 46s
  8. 8m 8s
    1. Showing people what you've got
      3m 50s
    2. Making comparisons easy
      1m 24s
    3. Creating landing pages from ad campaigns
      2m 54s
  9. 11m 22s
    1. The real purpose of detail and product pages
      1m 16s
    2. Writing descriptive text
      2m 4s
    3. Using images to set context
      2m 17s
    4. Showing the price for products
      2m 27s
    5. Have a call to action
      1m 36s
    6. About Us: a special detail page
      1m 42s
  10. 10m 58s
    1. Ask for information in context
      2m 25s
    2. Making forms as painless as possible
      2m 34s
    3. Creating form fields
      3m 37s
    4. Handling errors gracefully
      2m 22s
  11. 9m 9s
    1. Using different types of media
      1m 55s
    2. Simple question: Does it enhance the experience?
      2m 15s
    3. Using graphics for explanation, not decoration
      1m 17s
    4. What is interactive content?
      1m 58s
    5. Laying out your page for media
      1m 44s
  12. 5m 3s
    1. Making money without selling out
      1m 37s
    2. Adding graphical ads
      2m 10s
    3. Creating text ads
      1m 16s
  13. 3m 42s
    1. Simple, consistent, and standard design
      2m 4s
    2. Consider your users and you'll be fine
      1m 38s
  14. 1m 31s
    1. More resources
      1m 31s

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