In Information society cognitive process becomes technology intensive. It’s easier to browse the Internet and find everything you need in a few minutes than spending hours in the library looking through multiple pages of old books or newspapers. Information today takes many forms and easily accessible, there are tons of data on the web. However, sometimes it’s hard to find what you need and the amount you need.
In our research from several months ago we have already touched upon a question of whether people are tired of reading. People are suffering information overload in all life spheres, especially when it comes to large texts. Children in most instances don’t like reading. Bulky books make them shudder and think “It’s going to take a lot of time.” Time… It’s another reason why people tend to read less. Why spend time for reading when information can be perceived in other way and save precious hours?! That’s why audiobooks became so popular and a movie based on book is often more popular and more famous than the original story (How many of you actually read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ books before the movie or TV show had emerged?)
On the Internet the problem is even more obvious. People would rather look through the article or website content than read it carefully. A recent study revealed that most of readers tweet about the article they haven’t read thoroughly and most of sharing happens on first lines of the text. So, how should websites react to that trend and what do their owners need to do to keep visitors’ attention and convey their ideas and messages?
Visuality today is the best way to deliver most of your precious thoughts to the audience. Human mind tends to perceive information in images – they way it did in the early ages when first people created cave paintings. It was a perfect way to provide the necessary information to others, share news and ideas. And today small children start their cognitive process with games and drawings. Moreover, most people often scribble sketches or meaningless pics during boring meetings, lectures or on their way to work. Psychologists say such activity helps human mind to relax and clean itself from unnecessary thoughts and information. In other words, visual form of interaction is natural and comfortable for our minds.
Text is much more complicated thing that requires longer learning. Visual information can be processed 60,000 times faster than text and is easier to remember. Researches tell that people tend to remember only 20% of what they read, while around 37% of population are visual learners. That means they tend to perceive visual information like images or infographics, better than text or audio. All that means visual means pf communication are much better for the Internet, and website builders now tend to create sites and templates based on visual content.
Types of visual content:
All these types of visual content may be used in websites and website templates as singular elements or in various combinations together with text and typography.
Visual elements affect people in both ways – cognitively and emotionally. Cognitively a person learns how to interact with some objects, gets the point of certain information. The knowledge and communication skills are improved thanks to visuals. Visual content helps people with low literacy to perceive and understand the information they find difficult to read.
Emotionally visual content connects a person with an object, stimulates our imagination and improves comprehension. Human brain consists of two parts – right and left sections. The left section is responsible for our language, cognitive functions, logic and reasoning, while right section is associated with emotions, intuition and creativity. Visuals make both parts of human brain work together stimulating logic and cognitive functions with the use of bright and creative images.
Website visuals may be used for:
Today Content Management Systems adapt to modern trends and offer more opportunities of visual content organisation. Their functionality may vary from adding pictures and videos to creating slideshows, managing galleries and typography.
Photos and various images are the main element of modern web designs. Most websites use large pics for the background but those are not simple textures or patterns anymore. Large pictures are widely used by photographers to show off their work and draw attention to the websites. Huge background sliders provide a good impression and make the visitors stay longer with the website. Various gif’s used for logos and icons are attractive, catchy and allow establishing emotional connection between the site and its visitors.
Large background pictures is a perfect way for retailers, designers or manufacturers to demonstrate how the product may be used, its general features or important details. Thus, interior designers may use large images for background slider to present their best works to potential customers. Online stores widely use images and slideshows of their products as the main means of content organisation.
Video is also a good way to replace textual content without losing informative aspect. It is also used for demonstration of product features, its essential parts. Cooking websites often use videos instead of writing detailed step-by-step instructions and recipes. Fitness and sports websites include video classes, interviews with celebrities, and product roundups. Some modern sites even use videos as the background to deliver their message.
Visuals and text should go in pair. Without graphics and visuals text would be too difficult to read and boring, without text visuals would be useless. Moreover, text content is extremely important for proper SEO. Most websites offer home pages heavily loaded with visual content and links that lead to other pages with more text information. In such case visuals stand for small hooks that stop people with a promise to show more.
With a growing use of mobile devices it’s essential to fill the websites with the kind of content that can be easily perceived from a smaller screen. Thus, bright and readable visuals appear as a perfect idea. In any case, there always should be balance between all types of content.