In my previous post, I covered what it means for a picture on a web page to be relevant and beautiful. What about well composed and in a prime location?
Photographers are familiar with the golden ratio, referred to as the golden section, golden mean, or simply: rule of thirds. Technically, it’s the mathematical formula used to describe the perfect proportional relationship of any object. We see it in everyday shapes like wide-screen televisions, as well as in nature, architecture, and fine art. Simply stated, it’s a pleasing and balanced compositional unity. Here’s an example:
See how the main areas of interest in this photo lineup with the rule of thirds? Mom’s face is aligned with the top right third, together with the child’s and faculty member’s hands in the bottom right third. Plus, viewing faces lights up the area of the brain devoted to higher level processing. Bingo. Compositional unity.
Images have to be cropped, resized, and enhanced to use on web pages anyway, so it’s easy to apply the rule of thirds. You can eyeball by dividing the horizontal and vertical dimensions into thirds, then focus on areas where they meet.
Think above the fold. The intent of your image is to tell a story better than your words do. You don’t want to force people to read all the words before they see the image. Research tells us they won’t do so anyway. It’s worth it to allocate space at the top left, right, or midway above the fold, even if you have to reduce the dimension of your image to do so. Including a headline directly above or beneath the image increases the relational association, because viewers view them at the same time.
If you didn’t take the picture yourself, don’t overlook copyright. Not everything you find on the web is fair game so make sure you understand the basics of copyright and where to find images you can use. If in doubt, check with your college's graphic designer and/or legal department. He or she will be qualified to advise you.
Hopefully these concepts will help you better understand how to incorporate the power of images into your web content. Good luck!
About the Blogger
Marie Wise, APR, is Lower Columbia College’s Web Marketing & Communications Coordinator. With 15+ years of marketing and public relations experience in the local community, she is the college’s strongest advocate for maximizing the potential of the website. Recently, she began training and supporting the college’s group of web editors, who continue to be amazed at the efficiencies provided by OU Campus. When she’s not working, she can be found painting in her home studio overlooking the scenic Columbia River, taking walks with her golden retriever, or reading art history fiction on her eReader!