Between 2000 and 2015, the average human attention span dropped dramatically between 2000 and 2015 – a period of time that just so happens to align with the emergence of the digital world (Microsoft). Whereas we used to have about a 12-second attention span, it was reduced to 8 seconds in those 15 years… and now, it’s likely even shorter.
So, what does this mean for professionals in the media industry? Above all, capturing the attention of consumers has never been more important – and more challenging. Images have become a vital tool for digital creators, alongside imagery SEO (search engine optimization). Not only do images provide the power to grab online users’ interest, but they can also work “behind the scenes” to help websites earn more traffic and be more easily found via search.
Implementing images has become somewhat of a science, although it’s definitely still a task with artistic roots. By sticking to a handful of imaging best practices, brands and industry professionals can more successfully reach their target audience and achieve their business goals.
Best Practices for Imaging
Here are a few top tips for using images effectively online:
Stick to high-quality, meaningful imagery.
When a user arrives on a website, they immediately begin developing their first impression of the brand. The goal is to use images that clearly communicate the company’s purpose, how it serves the user, and what makes it unique. By thoughtfully selecting images that make a strong impact, it’s much easier to seize the opportunity to connect with the online user.
In most cases, this means investing the time and expense necessary for proprietary images (versus generic stock images). The best images are the ones that depict a brand’s customers, staff, products, and services in an authentic but positive light. Typically, a business will get optimal results by hiring a professional photographer.
Be very careful about using stock photos.
If a company doesn’t have the budget or time for a professional photographer, they may need to rely on stock images. However, this is a task that should be navigated extremely carefully. Avoid overly generic images, because they can be a major turn-off for online users. Instead, search for detailed, relevant images.
Use very specific, long-tail key words and phrases to narrow down stock image searches. For example, instead of searching for “people cooking,” a culinary school could submit a search for “young people and teacher participating in a pastry baking demonstration.”
Use graphic icons to boost usability.
Too much text can make users click out of a site surprisingly fast, so look for opportunities to eliminate text wherever possible. One way to streamline a website is with graphic icons. The right icons add a visual element to break up text, while also making a website easier for a user to browse and navigate quickly.
Consider smart imagery to enhance scanning.
Did you know that the average web user only reads about 20% of the text on a webpage? It’s natural for the eye to skip around text in search of anchor points, such as images. You can take advantage of this by incorporating graphical elements, simultaneously holding users’ attention and making it easier to rapidly scan and understand content.
Keep SEO and accessibility in mind.
Aesthetics are certainly important for imagery, but so are SEO practices and accessibility. Search engines such as Google assess each webpage’s images to determine the subject matter and other factors, generating a title, snippet, and other details to help search users. Elements in the website coding can affect whether or not Google can “see” the image, so learning about the technical side of imagery is critical.
Excel in a Creative Career with Training in Digital Media Production
Whether you’re interested in video production, graphic design, photography, or a similar field, building professional-quality skills is key to a successful career. And when it comes to imaging, potential employers and clients can easily decide your fate with just a single glance at your portfolio – are you confident that you’re ready to rise above the competition?
Even the most skilled of professionals can benefit from learning new skills, especially because digital media is completely changing the way we create, edit, and even consume imagery. At the BeonAir Network of Media Schools, with campuses located in Miami, Chicago, Colorado, and Ohio, we’ve designed a unique program that provides a diverse range of students with the opportunity to hone their talents.
Our Digital Media Production program presents a comprehensive look at the latest in digital storytelling, content creation, and more, expanding students’ understanding of the digital production landscape as a whole.
Get on the Fast Track to Your Professional Goals with a Media Education
If you’re interested in setting yourself apart in a competitive industry, we would love to talk more about the program options available at our nationwide campuses. Get more information about how to work in imaging when you connect with our team today!
Image Source: fizkes / Shutterstock