Not all images used in web design contribute to the conversion. Designers often give precedence to the aesthetic parameters of photos and illustrations, without caring about their real purpose: to be visual motivators. Many website owners are unpleasantly surprised when they do an analysis using eye-tracking. They find that visitors are ignoring strategically important images and looking at things that don’t deserve attention. Beautiful and high-quality photos and illustrations leave people unmoved. What’s the reason? How to use visualization to capture the attention of users and motivate them to perform the desired action?
Only knowing your goal, you can choose a mean to achieve it.
Not all designers know what visual marketing is. Many people use its rules intuitively or borrow ideas from someone else’s successful works. Sometimes it works, but more often it doesn’t. However, if you use visual marketing techniques consciously, your chances of achieving user affection and high conversions will rise exponentially.
“A beautiful and high-quality photo, just the right color for this block,” the designer thinks happily, inserting into the project the first stock photo he finds. They make a mistake that later will cost the owner of the resource the loss of clients and money. Attractiveness and image quality are the very last criteria by which the designer should choose an image. This is not where you should start!
What do we want to achieve with visualization?
This is the first question the designer or person in charge of visual content should ask themselves.
There are both general goals of the company and its web resource, and private goals. Each information block of the project solves its own tasks, hierarchically subordinated to the general goal.
Understanding of the goal helps to determine the method. What is the best fit in this case — photo, illustration, video, or animation? The right choice is the one made based on the results of marketing analysis and in accordance with the technical task.
Before creating a visualization, you need to know the answers to the following questions:
- What are the goals of the company and the product?
- What tasks should your design solve?
- What’s your main target audience? Its goals, desires, tastes, motivation.
- How should a company’s product be presented to this audience?
- What’s the optimal design for your users?
- What emotions and desires should your visualization evoke?
- What should the user do on this page?
- How exactly can you capture and direct their attention?
The answers to these questions help to write a technical task, create a prototype, and develop a general design concept. This includes the style, color scheme, typographics, design elements. After that, you can make your goals more specific and start picking the right images, infographics, animations, videos, etc.
Many designers receive an already prepared brief or technical task and don’t show unnecessary initiative and curiosity, but it’s wrong. The more a designer knows about the company, product, and users, the more chances they have to create a not just attractive, but converting design. It’s especially important to understand your users, and here’s why.
“Cool photo!” — this is not the emotion you need. It doesn’t contribute to increasing conversions.
Without the knowledge and understanding of the audience, it’s impossible to guess which images will evoke an emotional response in people. Some people think that we are talking about positive emotions. You just need to pick up photos and illustrations that arouse admiration. No, this is not enough. The person will admire the picture and close the page.
“It’s necessary to make the interaction with the product enjoyable,” you say.
Yes, but this is not enough too!
People tend to respond to images with which they can relate themselves. It’s not enough just to find pictures that you like.
Your major task is to achieve empathy. This requires images that convey those special emotions that can affect this group of users. Impress them so that they won’t remain indifferent! However, you can’t impress a person if you don’t know them.
Strong emotions give people the impetus to make decisions. Conversions directly depend on the choice of an image that evokes emotions of empathy.
People see color instantly and react to it in a split second. Knowing the audience helps to determine the color scheme and style, set the right mood, and win the sympathy of users.
Images should support the chosen color scheme and not destroy the unity of style.
Your method to show the product will determine the interest of users and the desire to purchase it. It’s not about a high-quality photo — it’s self-understood. The tough call for a designer is to evoke a sense of belonging in users, to move them to the scene as if they were physically there. So how to create a “participation effect”?
The specialty of online commerce is that people can’t touch the product and see it from all sides. This can raise doubts and discourage the desire to purchase it. If possible, demonstrate the product from two or three angles. Think about what is especially important for the customer to see. To show the details closer, use macro photography. The users should see the benefits they are told about with their own eyes!
Not every service is easy to demonstrate with images, but you should try to give people an idea of how it works. You can use a photo of people and equipment, people against the background of interiors, any processes that can be visually displayed.
People are more willing to buy a product when they can mentally visualize themselves as its owner. Everyone understands this when it comes to clothing. The photo of the suit is accompanied by a photo of the person in the suit, which helps to increase sales.
Lifehack from marketing experts. This works with any products! Buyers subconsciously project a photo of a person with a product onto themselves, as opposed to an abstract product photo.
For example, a company sells furniture. A dozen of the best photos of sofas and armchairs don’t induce any emotions in viewers. But a photo of a person sitting comfortably in an armchair with a book evokes the desire to just as comfortably relax. “A great armchair, by the way, and not that expensive!” — this thought comes to mind of its own accord.
It’s possible to “possess” anything. You can take small objects in hand or place a person next to large ones.
An example of an unattractive visual presentation. Self-tapping screws, just screws. And what else is needed, you say. Nothing, but you have to make people buy these screws from you, and not from competitors!
How to make screws attractive and how can they be “possessed”?
They are yours. Do you feel their weight and prickliness?
This is a special case of “possession”. The story about the service or process should be as clear as possible so that the person imagines themselves involved in it. People aren’t interested in what they cannot imagine. In some cases, the uncertainty is even frightening. It is advisable to use real photos of people and true images of processes.
Sometimes illustrations are preferred over photographs. They take up less space, don’t distract with details, and simply and clearly show what needs to be done. All kinds of “steps”, instructions, rules, and guidelines are best demonstrated with the help of pictures.
Minimalistic illustrations visually “unload” the design, make it intuitive and easy to understand.
If your goal is to present a company or services, it’s recommended to show not only a photo of the service but also a photo of the building in the urban environment and its interiors. It’s especially important if people have to visit this place. You should also indicate its location on the map. Such visualization gives the company more credibility and reduces the anxiety of the visitors.
People love to see “before” and “after” or compare products. However, the visual comparison is often exploited in aggressive marketing and can arouse negative attitudes in people. Therefore, you need to compare tactfully and competently, without misleading people with the help of Photoshop. Otherwise, it will only cause distrust.
Owners of online stores tend to fill their page with a huge number of photos that flicker before the eyes. The bad design gives the impression that the product is of poor quality. People don’t want to take a closer look at it. The trade is slack, which is not surprising.
Even the best images can be poorly perceived by viewers if their size is too small, or, inversely, unreasonably big.
If the visual hierarchy on the page is missing, there are no accents or too many of them, then the eye has nothing to be caught with. Overload of images, especially small ones, creates a sense of chaos and dirt. A clean, minimal design is the best solution. You can show an attractive dominant image of one selling proposition, and then buyers themselves will want to move on to exploring the rest. All unnecessary things have to be removed or hidden, and the important images should be made logically and visually accessible with the possibility to zoom them on click.
Good design leads and guides the user according to the goals of the site. A hierarchical sequence of images, well-placed accents, and guides contribute to ease of navigation. This means it helps create a positive user experience.
Images should not distract users from their goals on the page. A person can look at the image for too long, and their attention will be kept away and weakened. It’s especially true for overly detailed illustrations and “mesmerizing” animations.
There are special cases of distraction. For example, the background in a photo can be distracting. In this case, it’s better to replace it with a single-colored one.
Each image must correspond to the assigned tasks and have a functional load. You should not insert an image that doesn’t make sense, just because you need to fill the space.
Basic steps to create effective visualization:
Viable visualization methods for increasing conversions aren’t instructions for choosing and processing photos. This is the creation of visual motivators — images that won’t leave users indifferent and encourage them to take the desired action. To choose the right images, you need to study the audience well. Only after that, you can reach people with images that can inspire empathy. Then you will be able to create a “participation effect” and make users interested in the process.
No matter how good the theory is, you can understand all its advantages only by applying it in practice.
Wishing you a new exciting experience,
the Outcrowd team