Why Images Are Crucial to Websites and Marketing

Why Images Are Crucial to Websites and Marketing

There is an old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, which seems to hold true even in today’s fast-paced world. Infographics, images, and digital graphics are important to your marketing strategy. Let’s look at the impact images will have on your business.

Images and the Human Brain

Humans are particularly responsive to visual cues such as pictures. The power of images lies in the general makeup of our brains. We’re wired to notice, remember, learn from, and respond emotionally to visuals. Nearly two-thirds of people have identified themselves as visual learners.

Research has shown that people have an attention span of fewer than nine seconds, that’s less  than a goldfish! On average, when asked to recall something three days hearing it, people remember only 10% of the information/details. However, adding a picture can improve recall to 65%, thus making images far more important than ever, especially on social media.

                                                                                      Figure 1 MDG Advertising

Effects of Images on Business

Why is it of interest to you, from a business perspective? Because consumers are significantly more likely to think favorably of advertisements that emphasize photography, over those that are predominately text. Images can incite feelings of happiness, excitement, sadness or curiosity among other things. We can remember a famous brand just by looking at their image/logo, and can even reminisce decades into the past, simply by viewing an old picture. This is because a large part of the brain is focused on visual processing, allowing us to process images at an incredible speed. The human brain can recognize a familiar object in milliseconds, making images the perfect way to communicate in today’s crowded digital environment.

6 Reasons Why Images Are Important

There is quite a bit discussion about the value of images and why they should be a part of your marketing strategy. Here are some reasons why images are important:

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views.
  • Press releases are more likely to be viewed when a photo and a video are included (increases views by over 45%).
  • Consumers are 60% more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.
  • In an eCommerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product.
  • Photos receive a 37% higher level of engagement over text on Facebook.

Visual Indicators

Images can also warn us or give us clues about what’s to come. Magazines understand our inability to ignore powerful images. Along with powerfully emotional headlines, pictures that capture stunning moments in time can have an arresting impact and even change our mood instantly.

Images On Your Website

Images are powerful on their own, but when mixed with text they become even more impactful. Audiences consistently respond well to the combination of words and visuals. As noted above, articles with relevant images get 94% more views, on average, compared to articles without images.

Adding a picture to an article or a post can add several advantages to your website.

  • Images convey emotion about what you are talking about, in a powerful sensory-based way, and give additional depth to your content.
  • Good images make people want to read the article.
  • If your visitors can relate to and connect with your images, they are likely to return.
  • Images can create a personality for your website and help your brand stand out from competitors.
  • Images give your visitors and readers a break from all the text content.

To further maximize the effect of images in articles, optimize all accompanying captions, metadata and alt text.

Images In Your Social Media

Social media is a crowded space and using images is a great way to grab attention. A social media post accompanied by a photo is ten times more likely to get engagement. This is because our brains respond so quickly to images and color, in comparison to other types of information. For example, images on Facebook receive 20% more engagement than videos and 352% more engagement than links.

The images selected need to be of interest to your target audience. Find out what visuals affect responsiveness through research.  Although there are several sources for royalty-free stock images but it is advised to check that competitors aren’t using the same ones. You can add some purchased images or hire a photographer to provide professional pictures that are unique to your business.

Consistency Builds Identity

Consistent branding is important to building your business. When you post on a variety of platforms(website, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), follow branding guidelines so your audience will identify those images with your business. Remember to be consistent with images, colors, and patterns across platforms, for brand recognition.

Images Effect Online Searches

A key benefit of images often overlooked is their online search impact. Visuals are highly valued by both search audiences and search engines themselves. Consumers respond strongly to images in search results. Thus, search engines understand this preference and increasingly prioritize visual-heavy content. Optimize your website using high-quality images to give your business a competitive edge.

Images the Right Way

Pictures are powerful and when used in the right way they can influence your readers and customers. The images must flow cohesively with the content, enhancing the branding. Otherwise, they may end up leaving a bad impression.

If you’d like expert advice on adding visuals to your website, contact NCN Technology by email consulting@ncntechnology.com or phone 703-757-2209.

Sources

 http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

http://www.fromdreamstolifestyle.com/why-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/

https://medium.com/@onlinelogomaker/why-images-are-so-important-to-social-media-b9411dd678a8

https://www.jeffbullas.com/6-powerful-reasons-why-you-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic/

Responsive Web Design: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

Responsive Web Design: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

Whether you’re updating your current website or considering building a brand new one, you will be hit with the topic of Responsive Web Design (RWD). With the increased use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, more people are using their smaller screen devices to view your web pages. The user experience should always be kept in mind so implementing RWD is important in website development or redevelopment. The purpose of RWD is to allow you to have one site that has the flexibility to function when viewed on all devices, regardless of their screen size.

Websites Before Responsive Web Design

Before RWD, the transition from a website on a computer to a mobile device was not optimal. A traditional “fixed” website on a desktop computer may have three columns of information. However, this layout on a smaller device might force you to scroll horizontally which is inconvenient and not displayed properly. Also, there’s a good chance some elements of your website might be distorted or even hidden from view completely. Another challenging aspect is that hand-held devices usually have the option of being viewed in portrait or landscape mode. A poor user experience can also occur if images are too large to load on smartphones or would “break” the layout.

What is Responsive Web Design?

The use of Responsive Design technology has improved the user experience.  When RWD is implemented, your website automatically adjusts to the device the viewer is using. A tablet version of your website may display just two columns making content readable and easy to navigate. The same material might appear as a single column on a smartphone screen, perhaps stacked vertically.  Alternatively, the user might have the ability to swipe over to view other columns. When it comes to viewing images on a site implementing RWD, they will automatically resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Responsive sites use fluid grids. This allows all page elements to be sized by proportion, rather than pixels. So if you have three columns, you wouldn’t say exactly how wide each should be, but rather how wide they should be in relation to the other columns. For example, you could set Column 1 to take up half the page, column 2 to take up 20%, and column 3 to take up 30%.

This also applies to media, such as images and infographics, which can also resize relatively. That way an image can stay within its column or relative design element, regardless of the device or orientation of viewing.

Other Factors to Consider

Mouse vs. touch:
Designing for mobile devices also brings up the issue of mouse versus touch. On desktop computers, the user normally uses a mouse to navigate and select items. On a smartphone or tablet however, the user mostly uses fingers when touching the screen. A Web Designer must take into account that what may seem easy to select with a mouse, may be hard to select with a finger on a tiny screen.

Graphics and download speed:
Users have come to expect websites to load quickly. Therefore, download speed and graphics are big considerations when developing your website. On mobile devices, it may be wise to display fewer graphics than the desktop version so that a site doesn’t take too long to load on a smartphone.  

Apps and “mobile versions”:
Responsive Web Design accommodates all users of various devices that visit your site. In the past, you might have thought about creating an app for your website–one that accommodated iOS or Android users. However, there are so many different devices and operating systems, it’s getting harder to create apps. Designing your website using RWD is the most desirable option for the user experience.

Why Even Small Businesses Need to Switch to Responsive Web Design

A recent report by Pew Research Center shows that in 2018, 77% of Americans now own smartphones. That is a large group of the population who are carrying the internet around in their pockets, purses, backpacks and hands. People are searching for information while they’re “on the go”. Businesses that have websites that are difficult to view on all platforms will lose customers.

To make it easy for customers to view your website, be sure you’re taking advantage of the benefits Responsive Web Design has to offer. At NCN Technology, we always keep this at the forefront of our Web design process and we are happy to assist you with your website if you feel it is needing improvements.

Call us today for a free consultation at 703-757-2209, or email us at consulting@ncntechnology.com.

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) sound similar, but what are they and why are they different? Surely our users are our customers and therefore they are the same thing – except, of course, they’re not.

In previous articles, we have talked about the importance of this aspect of your website; whether you are rejuvenating an existing one or preparing a completely new website. Visitors want to use sites that are easy to navigate. So, what is the difference between CX and UX?

What is User Experience?

The UX is how people interact with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction and generally refers to the digital interface, i.e. your website’s usability, information architecture, navigation, comprehension, visual hierarchy, etc.. All of these elements combine to create the UX, whether positive or negative. UX is measured with metrics like success rate, error rate, abandonment rate, time to complete tasks, and clicks to completion. The ultimate goal of your website’s UX should be to provide efficient and enjoyable solutions.

What is Customer Experience?

CX has a greater scope. It encompasses all the interactions a person has with your brand; an umbrella concept encompassing all channels and all products within the same brand, and how the user feels about them. It might be measured in overall experience, the likelihood of continued use, and possibility of recommending to others. In essence, UX is part of a broader CX, but CX contains some aspects outside of a product that UX does not.

Good UX

A good digital user experience gives a user/customer the ability to:

  • Find information on a website quickly and easily
  • Complete a desired task with ease
  • Search web pages with ease

Good CX

A comprehensive customer experience might include:

  • A professional, helpful, satisfying interaction with the organization/company representatives
  • An overall positive experience with that organization/company and everything associated with it

Why they are both important

You might have the best advertising, brand recognition, sales team, customer service representatives, and organizational structure (all CX-related items), but if customers’ interactions with your website, mobile app, software or other product (all UX-related items) create barriers in completion of the desired tasks, overall CX fails.

You can see how UX is really a component of CX, and each play an important role in the overall success of a program, the reputation of your brand, and customers’ loyalty to your brand. Failures in either area leads to a bad customer experience overall. Think about this as you develop products and services, and make sure to have the customer in mind.

Website

Remember, always consider WHO you’ve created your website for, and WHY it exists; it’s aimed at meeting a client’s needs in order to grow your business.

Here’s a quick set of bullet points to check from our article on building a new website:

  • Review who your target audience is, and make sure your message is crafted for that market segment.  
  • Know what’s topical in your industry.  Educate yourself on the latest (useful) trends, technological advances and tools in your area of expertise.
  • Begin and end with UX.  If something doesn’t have a reason for being there, drop it.  If it isn’t useful, drop it.

Also consider the overall branding of your company and ensure there is seamless identification from website, store, and products to staff and stationery. In order to have a positive, subtle influence on CX, it all needs to have the same look and feel–unified parts of your company.

4 Ways UX Improves CX

Have no doubt about the importance of UX, it is one of the strongest overall influences on the CX. Here are four UX techniques that can have a direct impact and improvement in CX:

  1. Easy customer feedback

Make sure your communication with your users is as easy and open as possible; don’t bury the customer helpline in a hard-to-find place. Create clear and readily visible calls-to-action, or even ask for feedback. Customers enjoy being heard, but it’s up to you to open that line of communication. From a UX position, the aggregate feedback will also reveal insights for product improvement.  

  1. Provide responses to feedback

As much as we have suggested that customers appreciate being heard; the complementary part of that is giving them feedback that their comments are being implemented, or at least were read. And remember to keep the tone consistent from product and website through to your customer support responses.

  1. Combine channels in the right context

A multi-device experience is always a solid strategy, considering that 90%* of users complete a single task on more than one device. Apply this to CX by linking customer service or other relevant services/products at the correct touchpoint. For example, Citibank, like many other sites (like Amazon), allows instant messaging with customer service reps as part of the existing user flow, a huge time-saver for anyone that’s taken advantage of it. 

  1. Provide context across teams

Customer service or supply chain teams certainly shouldn’t dictate the product design, but they must be involved in the product design process. You could seek their input on feasibility and explain how their roles help fulfill the product promise (and how they can salvage it should issues arise). Customer journey maps then help everyone visualize the entire experience. 

Overview

User experience must always be seen in the bigger context of customer experience or it’s entirely possible that your effort will be wasted even when the work is brilliant.

A positive UX is an integral part of a good CX; both are important and complement each other. Whilst UX has its focus on the product itself, CX focusses more broadly on the (overall) multi-channel experience that a user or customer has with a company, both online and offline. For an organization to create a good and long-lasting relationship with their customers, an appropriate strategy both for UX and CX is important for success.

NCN Technology has experts in both web design AND development. We understand the many platforms that are available and can help you choose what is best for your business. If developing the right UX is part of your strategy, let us support you with your website developments.

If you’d like expert advice, get in touch. We’d like to help you make your user experience the most efficient and user-friendly.