In this post I’d like to share a few tips for composing websites with the use of stunning photography. While the quality of a photo itself is exceptionally important you must also consider placement and direction. Photography in web design should add to the overall company image or add to some pieces of content on the page. Along with these tips browse through some related photography websites to get ideas for your own mockups.
It seems natural that photographs would perform very well on homepages. Once a user lands on your website they typically want to understand what it’s all about. While there are many different ways to draw people further into a site, photos are quick visual cues to explain things in a jiffy.
The use of big oversized photography has become a colossal trend unto itself. Large background photos placed in the header section of a webpage can do a lot to explain the purpose of a site. Companies and small businesses use this technique to feature photographs of their studio or office space.
Many personal websites for entertainers or artists tend to have a direct focus on the person. Photographs are the best way to show off how a person looks, what they do, or a certain aspect of their personality. Remember that the homepage will directly impact each visitor’s impression of the website. Photos on the homepage, especially above-the-fold, need to tell the story quickly and effectively.
Another use of photography in web design is the addition of product shots. eCommerce websites are the typical assumption but consider other products like mobile apps, video games, or new startups. Even a simple edited photo like the example on Gridbooks can go a long way towards marketing and selling a product.
However we’re primarily familiar with product shots that directly relate to items for sale. These could be platters of food, clothing, computers, or anything else. Restaurants primarily to use product shots to help sell dishes from their online menu.
“There has been a significant jump in the number of consumers using the Internet to find local businesses, and the regularity of their ‘searches’ has also increased.” In fact, only 15% of consumers surveyed have not used the internet to find a local business in the past 12 months. This number is down from 21% in 2010.
Machine Learning "AI" Driven Design
Marrying human input, design rules, and preplanned configurations, there’s a wave of design services arriving that auto-generate design output. Some of them are a little 'smoke and mirrors' at the moment, but don’t dismiss this trend just yet, because it’s going to step up in the years to come.
To date, we’ve mostly seen logo services like Tailor, Design Rails andWithoomph. But next year will see the launch of the very well funded web design tool: The Grid. This new entrant promises nothing less than an "AI" driven experience. Don’t worry though, this isn’t Skynet - our websites aren’t going to turn on us just yet. Rather, the grid appears to be a suite of machine learning and algorithmic systems that generate designs that flex around, and are based on, the content you input.
Will these tools mean the end of the design industry as we know it? No more so than crowdsourcing competition sites were the end of freelancing. Sure, these things cannibalise some existing business, but they also expand the market by making design more accessible and plentiful. Plus we’re a long way from tools that replace the human emotional intelligence and problem solving that a professional designer brings.
What it does say about the future is that we may be moving towards an era of smarter design tools. Think templates that auto-adjust to content, and tools that suggest effects and colour palettes as you’re working. And of course, more tools aimed at non-designers that offer simple and affordable solutions to basic and repeatable design problems.