Join Chris Nodder for an in-depth discussion in this video Using different types of media, part of User Experience for Web Designers.
- No doubt, a website with no graphics could look boring, and might turn people away. But that's not an excuse to just pile photos, videos, and graphics onto every page without thinking about why you're doing it or what the consequences might be. Think about the purpose of adding every image you put on a site. Does it help tell a story, or get across the concept that's the focus of your content? Also, consider what benefit the item offers that couldn't be done with a simpler form. For instance, do you really need a video? Or would a still image provide just the same explanatory power? Believe it or not, bandwidth is still an issue.
Even though most people now have fast Internet connections to their homes, they don't always have the same speed of connections on their mobile devices. And if you've ever tried connecting on a public Wi-Fi network, you know how painfully slow that can be. So don't go wild with masses of content on your pages. Page load time is just as important now as it ever was, and the more resources the page requires, the longer it's going to be before your visitors can start reading through and finding the information they want. Video, audio, live webcasts, podcasts, photo galleries, even animated GIFs, can all have a place on your site, but only if they're used correctly.
What I mean by correctly is whether you've used the right type of media to get your message across. For instance, a photo gallery might be a great way of showing off your product in a natural setting, but might not be so useful for a weekly news summary. The podcast might be better for the news summary if you know that the large majority of your visitors are technically adept enough to manage podcasts, whereas video might be a better option if you know that people will be coming to the site for that information, and if you have the type of content that goes well in video format. And animated GIFs are making a comeback. They can be really useful to show things like how a product gets assembled, or a fast indication of the steps in the process.
In these situations, the animated GIFs act more like a slideshow than a mini movie. So, feel free to add multimedia content, but always ask yourself, "What's the purpose?" What visitor need does this content serve, and is this the best format to meet that need?
User experience expert Chris Nodder teaches
- What people want from websites, how they search for information, how they read online, and how to structure your content to take advantage of this research
- How to use graphics to help rather than hinder visitors, how to integrate video, audio, and other media, and when to consider interactive rather than static content
- How to look at your site's homepage, forms, product pages, and content through the eyes of users to build a site that better meets their needs
- How to balance site content with advertising
There are never enough great interfaces in the world. Take this easy introduction to start making wonderful online experiences for your own users.
- Building a site visitors will like
- Using single, consistent, and standard design principles
- Creating good menus
- Working with site maps
- Adding search to a site
- Arranging content in a layout
- Writing for the web
- Creating category pages and landing pages
- Designing product pages and forms
- Using media and interactive content
- Balancing ads and content