- 28Mar, 2014
The Power of Photography
The Light Grey Desert
When WordPress first started spreading across the Internet, it did so with a layout that put the emphasis on text over photography. The WordPress look was simple and functional, but it didn’t do much to help websites showcase what made them unique. As the platform evolved, so too did the look of WordPress; images began to play a bigger role on front pages in the form of sliders, and layouts became more varied and dynamic.
But, while WordPress continued to prove itself a powerful and versatile web platform, it still lacked the strong visual engagement of websites that relied heavily on something like Flash to dazzle visitors. The Internet began to consist largely of two types of websites, the functional but slightly dry look of WordPress, and the flashy but somewhat clunky interface of a site built with Flash.
The Touchscreen Generation
With the dramatic rise of smartphones and tablets, this all changed. Users were given new ways to interact with the web, using devices that varied in size and resolution, speed and compatibility. Furthermore, social media networks like Facebook started to encourage users to share more pictures, setting a trend that apps like Instagram would expand upon. People began to communicate as much in pictures as in words. These factors lead to a shift in the way designers approached website creation, putting the emphasis back on user experience and active engagement. Flash was incompatible with most mobile devices, and large blocks of text failed to keep people’s interest for long.
Websites as the New Magazines
Both designers and clients began to realize just how important images were in this newly mobile world. Pictures could tell stories, explain problems, and provide demonstrations in a more efficient and compelling way than a big block of text, while remaining compatible with any device. User behavior was changing; rather than passively scrolling through paragraph after paragraph, users wanted a tactile, visually engaging experience. Websites needed to be as beautiful as a magazine, and as interesting as the latest app on their phone. Photography began to reassert itself as the central focus in design, and it continues to drive the aesthetics of the web to this day.
A Valuable Resource
DiggsDesign has been developing web-based solutions for ten years now, and we have seen first-hand how high quality photography can take a good website and transform it into an excellent web experience. We encourage our clients to take professional photos of their business, working with them to deliver photography that is useful not merely for a website, but for the success of an overall branding strategy. When done right, quality photography can become synonymous with a quality brand.
When Photography Says it All: A Case Study
One of our favorite examples of the importance of photography is Bliss Home Theaters and Automation. The people behind Bliss realized a long time ago that the beauty of their home theater and automation solutions spoke for itself. So when it came time for us to design Bliss’s new website, we made sure the pictures told the story. By designing every element around the high-resolution photos, we could show, rather than tell, potential clients about what made Bliss so special. The result is a website that doesn’t need a lot of words to speak volumes.