Redesigning a website requires investment. As a consultant, we invest our time digging deep to get to know our clients, their history, their business model, and generally what drives them. As a business, you invest your time and human resources to work with us, and you invest your hard earned revenues in our partnership.
But it’s also important to consider investment in other items that often go with a new website: investments such as branding, photography, and video.
When we create a new website, we are looking to frame a story. Your business has a story, and our goal is to find it and help you tell it with beautiful design. And photography is a key part of telling great stories.
Tell stories with photography and illustration
For example, when Range worked with Disney Publishing Worldwide, their beautiful graphics and illustrations for their books help tell their story. Children of all ages get lost in the wonderful world of Disney through their stories, and the Disney Books website helps give a glimpse into that world through the illustrated book covers and other graphics displayed on the website.
Or, when Range Creative Director Sara Cannon worked on the Jones Valley Teaching Farm website, she was able to work with Kelly Housholder and Cary Norton, a brilliant photographer, to capture stories from Jones Valley that help tell their story as an educator for students about healthy eating and sustainable community development.
Photography also has another big advantage in a website: it converts well. By saying it “converts”, I mean that photography helps convince website visitors to do what you ask them to do. You may ask them to click a button, or buy something, or fill out a form. Good photography, especially of people, helps convince visitors to take such actions.
37Signals did a fascinating case study to test this. They saw over a 100% increase in signups for one of their products by using photography in their sales pitch — specifically photography of people.
Barack Obama’s digital team was also famous for A/B testing various designs for improving conversions. And they had excellent success. As Kyle Rush notes in one of his case studies, they increased conversions by 49% between two versions of their donation page.
And Rush cites photography as a huge factor in the testing’s success. But not just photograhy, but specific kinds of photography. In a separate article he highlights how the context of imagery can play a huge role.
Photography was a huge part of the Obama brand. We had several photographers that took lots of amazing photos of the President, the First Lady and everyone else. We took advantage of this by testing a ton of images. We tested photos just about everywhere from donate pages to sign up forms and about everywhere else you can imagine. As with layout and usability we learned a lot about how users react to different kinds of imagery. We found that there are many variables in photos that can affect conversions, but possibly the biggest impact had to do with the context in which the photo was used.
Photography isn’t an afterthought
I hope that these examples help highlight how photography and imagery should not be an afterthought in our web projects. Photography is an important part of your overall investment in your brand. And it helps us, as web designers, better serve you when you have great photos.
So, in your next web project, remember the importance of photography for the overall project success. Of course, in case you are scared about how to go about this, we know a lot of excellent photographers who can help you get great photos so we can better help you tell your story.