Words vs Images? Or Words and Images?

Lately, I have had a few 1 to 1 meetings with peers, prospective clients and whilst most are happy with the written content of their website, they are not so happy about the images, in particular generic stock images that were popped in by the web designer to make the page look more appealing. Some have no images at all, as they don’t think the images would be compatible with the message that they are trying to get across. Well in theory, you should use both words and images to get the attention of a good cross section of the audience, as opposed to either or. Most see this as a positive step forward, however, were most falter is seeing that 1 image is adequate as opposed to a number of images being of true use. Have you tried describing yourself in one word? Well I have been described as ‘Utilitarian’; do you know what that means? Have you looked it up in a dictionary? And there it is a sentence to explain what one word means. Plus the one word that you may use to describe yourself today may change to another tomorrow, and then there is another definition to look up in the dictionary to fully understand what the word actually means.

Do you understand what I am driving at? Most people put far too much preference on the use of one image as opposed to a number of images to divulge what they do as an occupation. If you look at the layout of a Newspaper, there is a headline, then blurb and an image, if something truly dramatic has happened then it will be a headline and a full page image, but how often do they happen? The image is there to draw you in, you look inside, and there is the text to explain what is happening and more images to show you what is happening.

When I sat my exams a teaching point was learning the difference between explanation and description, if you look at your website then the words should be the explanation of what you do and images should be the description of what you do.  Then there is trying to get the right balance of words and images.

Here is an example:

‘ Tabley House, a prime example of 18th Century Palladian architecture based in Knutsford, Cheshire, boasts a fine gallery of artwork and books, however, the silk ceiling to floor curtains in recent years have started to show signs of increasing wear and tear. To help with the preservation and conservation of the Curtains, NADFAS volunteers painstakingly viewed, measured, recorded and in some cases repaired the curtains to a satisfactory level to prevent any further damage. They carried out this work on long benches in the Drawing room, making full use of the space and preventing further damage to the delicate curtains.’

Tabley House, 18th Century Palladian Country House, Knutsford, Cheshire
Tabley House, 18th Century Palladian Country House, Knutsford, Cheshire
Curtain from the Gallery laid out in the Drawing room for inspection
Curtain from the Gallery laid out in the Drawing room for inspection
Detail of the conservation work carried out by a NADFAS volunteer on the curtains from the Gallery at Tabley House
Detail of the conservation work carried out by a NADFAS volunteer on the curtains from the Gallery at Tabley House
NADFAS volunteer working on the conservation of the curtains from the Gallery in the Drawing room of Tabley House
NADFAS volunteer working on the conservation of the curtains from the Gallery in the Drawing room of Tabley House

So which did you prefer, words, images or both?

If you need a little more convincing, when you next go shopping have a look at a child’s book, one of the early learning ones, there you will see pictures and one to two simple sentences on a page.  If you would like to do something about it and not sure how to execute it, then give me a call and we’ll sketch something through. One image tells a thousand words, 4 images tell a story.

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