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Choosing Images For Your Site


Images containing people and/or animals

When an image contains a face, there are a few things you might like to keep in mind...

Direction of Gaze

When observing another individual, it would appear that humans are naturally inclined to follow the direction of their gaze. Perhaps this is an evolutionary measure tapped into our survival. In any case, we can use it to our advantage when combining images with information. If you take note of your eye movements in the two examples below, you will see that your eye is drawn to different areas.

Nike Women

Above: This screenshot from the Nike website demonstrates how by following the direction of the person's gaze, your eye can automatically be directed towards the most important information on the page.

Nike Women

Above: Here is a screenshot from the same website in which the head is in the same rough location, but the face is cast downwards slightly. This subtle change results in the user most likely noticing the buy button (and also the Facebook "like" button) before scanning up to read the headline.

American Bird Conservancy

Above: This phenomenon is not just true of human subject matter. We tend to follow the direction of any kind of face whatsoever. In this screenshot from the American Bird Conservancy website, our gaze is directed towards the donation button in the top right corner.

American Bird Conservancy

Above: And here is the same website again. This bird is clearly pointing us in the direction of the logo and the headline below it.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Above: Just to prove this device really does apply to all types of faces, here is a screenshot from The Metropolitan Museum of Art which shows an ancient sculpture looking obediently at the text on the left.

Body Language

Body language doesn't just work in real life. We are constantly "reading" other humans movements and positioning whether they appear to us in three dimensions or only two. If you had to select an image below to represent honesty, which would you pick?


Above: Both of these photographs are fashion shots from the Levi's website. Generally speaking, in terms of body language the crossing of arms can be seen to be a defensive manouvre. In contrast, the model on the right looks more outgoing and is communicating a sense of fun.


It can often help to draw in your audience when they can see their own likeness reflected back at them. It tells them in an instant that your site is relevant and that they are in the right place.




Above: The three screenshots above are from the Kellogg's website. The rotating slideshow samples a cross-section of the breakfast food giant's target market, making sure to visually represent families of various ethnicities.


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