Increasing Website Efficacy Through Photo and Video

Whether you tend toward videography or photography for website imagery, quality production value is obviously key. When using graphics to seek conversions, however, there are a few more factors you’re going to want to consider.

Visuals are by far the most compelling aspect of a website. Video already makes up 50% of the digital landscape and is set to reach almost 80% by 2018 . . . so taking the time to make sure you’re doing it right is essential. Trends come and go faster than diner patrons in the modern marketplace, and being on the right side of the times is just one way to ensure that your marketing campaign will be relatable, eye-catching, and effective.

As we begin 2017 we wanted to take a look at ways to increase website efficacy, not only for ourselves, but for our clients as well. This meant assessing recent movements in the use of videos and images in web design to determine which styles and treatments are likely to stick around, and which are probably ready to go the way of crucifix jewelry and ombré hair.

1.    Images

Stock Photography – Anyone who’s been staying current on the look of the web in recent years must have noticed the rise of stock photography and animated videos as a low-cost and easily outsourced means of disseminating information on a home or landing page. As we move into 2017, chances are you’re likely to see a decline in this trend.

Stock photography is dying off for a good reason: a cliché image of cheerfully indistinct office workers toasting with martini glasses at a run-of-the-mill chain restaurant bar offers nothing in the way of storytelling or personality . . . and it often doesn’t perfectly strike the intended tone of the message being asserted. As with video (more on that later), the best option for companies seeking to keep it fresh, captivating and engaging is to invest in custom images that evoke the brand and stand out from the crowd.

Parallax scrolling – While this trend’s status as an innovative new technique seems to have faded throughout 2016, we contend that it’s efficacy has not yet passed its prime

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, the effect of parallax scrolling is achieved through the layering of graphics in which the foreground moves faster than the background. This adds intrigue to an otherwise simplistic design and helps bring static images into the third dimension. Depending on how it’s used, however, this effect can ruffle feathers.

The problem with parallax scrolling is that it depends on a heavy use of JavaScript, which done wrong can make the page slow to load. This can (understandably) irritate visitors when usability decreases as a result of its implementation. By restricting the designer to a one-page site and doing away with the opportunity for invoking metatags and titles, parallax scrolling is also going to force a tradeoff between cool look and good SEO. What’s more is that the scrolling effect can often be overused—to an eye-numbing effect—and has even caused motion sickness in certain viewers. 

That being said, this treatment has not fully run its course, and creative designers can still implement it in ways that will add a fresh feel to stale designs. Parallax scrolling is a distinctive way to create a dynamic balance between utility and user experience. It also lends a stunning visual aspect to wordy sites, helping them to feel less cumbersome. Ultimately, this effect is great for a business built around storytelling, yet other enterprises can also come up with creative ways to use it toward an intriguing look that adds significantly to the message and feel of the business.

Full screen images/full bleed banners – While this is hardly a new trend, the way it’s being used has become quite specific. The look of oversized images, known as “hero images,” has grown in popularity and will continue to stake its claim in web design throughout 2017. Because of its ability to make a big impact upon landing, it is considered highly engaging. Add that to its tendency to force the viewer’s attention toward whatever small amount of text you choose to include with the image, and you’ve got a pretty effective use of imagery. Those who wish to employ a hero image should consider adding a large and commanding header to pair with it—this treatment helps to further engage the viewer while providing an opportunity for a personal touch.

Black and white photography/Color overlay – Another not-so-new look that seems to be maintaining its foothold within website photography treatments is the use of black and white graphics, which add an air of sophistication to your site. This effect allows colorful graphics (read: important text) to stand out. Color overlays can be used to similar effect while allowing the designer to curb the color scheme toward a certain feel (think blue, for a calming effect or red for passion/sexiness). Again, depending on color combinations, overlays can also help contrasting text colors stand out and catch the viewer’s eye.

2.    Videos

The popularity of video in web design should come as no surprise given that video conveys a wealth of information without sacrificing entertainment or sensory elements beyond mere visuals. It’s no wonder that apps like Facebook Live and other huge video-based platforms have gained momentum in recent months, and we see the trend continuing to the point of complete dominance in the near future.

So, what video applications are going to be most influential when it comes to web design efficacy in 2017 and beyond?

Explainer videos – We touched on the need for originality when discussing stock photography, and the importance of this quality is no less dire when it comes to video production. In order to make a memorable impression on today’s consumers using video, customization and personal touches are paramount to your success. Animated explainers, like stock imagery, aren’t just dated—they’re formulaic and forgettable.

In order to put forth the look and feel of your brand, you’ll want to take the time to consider exactly what that looks like in the context of the message you want to capture and make it happen. Custom videography, animation and typography increase your storytelling potential, allowing you to reach your customers on a deeper level. When filming, consider combining multiple tactics—testimonials, real-life employees, behind-the-scenes shots—into one concise video to present people with a reason to commit once and for all.

Cinemagraphs – While the GIF has been lingering in the internet realm for some time, cinemagraphs (still images with one small aspect of animation added on) are gaining a foothold in web design—and for good reason. Cinemagraphs are a subtle yet impactful way of grabbing your customers’ attention without losing any of the sophistication or simplicity inherent in your design. This is especially attractive to businesses who are taking advantage of the recent minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the web design world.

While you have myriad options to explore when it comes to video and photo implementation, one thing is certain: the name of the game in 2017 is “Customization.” Whether you want to stick with the trends that are lingering from recent years or seek out completely new treatments of your photo and video applications, make sure you keep it innovative and personalize, personalize, personalize!

Need help integrating video or photography into your website? Contact 10twelve today!