/5 Ways to Use Photography in User Experience Design
user experience design

5 Ways to Use Photography in User Experience Design

Are you ready to use your photography to leverage user experience (UX) design?

Photography plays a larger role than people may think in influencing how a user experiences a certain website.

Images and infographics alone can impact purchase decisions, conversions, and even what users think of your company.

Still, many still overlook the importance of photography in user experience design.

You can easily stay ahead of the curve by implementing the right photography to give your users the best experience yet.

Read on for insight into how you can use your photography to influence UX today.

Photography and UX Design

If you’re unconvinced about the role that photography plays in UX design, take a minute now and browse to some of your favorite websites.

What do you notice about the photos that these websites use? Do they seem cheesy and artificial? Deliberate and integrated? How do these images make you feel?

Also, notice where photos are placed on these websites. What impact does this placement have on how you engage with the content?

You don’t have to answer all of these questions. We’re just asking them in order to emphasize a common thread here: photography can leave an impact on website users.

It can trigger certain thoughts or ideas. It can even give an overall impression of the product or service. Lastly, photos can be the sticking point between leads and conversions.

The Fundamentals of UX

User Experience Design is, after all, defined as a marketing and design strategy that keeps the user in mind.

Most companies rely on UX when they design their websites. They put themselves in their users’ shoes and think about what would leave the biggest and most positive impact on their users.

This may mean an interactive or more responsive user experience design. Maybe it means choosing a certain color scheme to influence mood.

User Experience is built around the belief that the more you prioritize a user in your marketing, the more likely that user is to follow your brand.

Consumers are, after all, picky. They want brands that they can relate to and ones that strike a certain cord.

On a technical level, consumers also want to visit websites that are easy to use and fast to load. They want information that’s useful and easy to skim. And, in many ways, they want to see the right visuals.

Merging The Two

So, the bottom line about photography and user experience design is making both work for the same purpose.

You want photos that think about your user, and you want to build these into a design that thinks about your user.

Sounds simple, right?

It is on one level. But it can also be complex because, at the end of the day, both should have a positive impact.

We’ve got five top ways for you to leave this impact with photography and user experience design. Read on.

How to Leverage Your Photography For UX

Photos are valuable tools and should not be uploaded lightly. Luckily, you can easily choose photos for your website or marketing campaign if you follow these five tips.

1. Strike a Relationship Between Text and Image

Websites can totally miss out on the great power of photography and user experience design by forgetting this pro-tip.

Let’s go back to some of the websites you frequent–namely, the ones you weren’t so impressed with photo-wise. Pay attention to what’s not so impressive about the way these websites use their photos.

You may notice that certain photos seem to be out of place. Maybe it looks like the designer had to upload an image to fill a template, and so he/she did arbitrarily.

Or perhaps that pic of the smiling customer representative doesn’t seem like an actual team member of the company.

In any of these instances, something crucial is awry: there’s no relationship between text and image.

Well, there’s always some relationship. But the photos aren’t deeply integrated with what the text is all about.

It can be tricky to identify what this looks like. But the key lies in paying attention to what your content is saying. Remember: content is always king, especially when it comes to conveying messages to your users.

Do a little bit of close reading with your content, and choose an image based off of the following things you notice:

1. Emotions or mood of the content

2. The core product, service, or item

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3. Any company message

Let’s try an example.

We’ll pretend that you are a digital marketing company specializing in SEO services.

On your figurative home page, you talk about these SEO services. Namely, you mention how you perform keyword audits, advise on keyword choice and placement, and give digital marketing consultations.

You really want to emphasize peace of mind for your user. After all, SEO can be intimidating and you want them to know that your services can make all of their digital marketing efforts pay off, with little to no sweat on their end.

What photos would you choose to supplement this content?

Peace of mind is important, and emotions are easy to play off of. So, choose an image that merges the two in a creative way: maybe you’ll integrate a pic of someone skydiving with a big smile on their face.

The more you can integrate text and image, the more likely your photography is to leverage your user experience design.

2. Avoid Stock Photos and Opt For Reality

Users are learning to recognize stock photos–you know, the pics designed to suit a general audience.

Examples of stock photos include pictures of employees wearing headsets and team members smiling and drinking coffee at a meeting.

Incorporating these artificial images into your user experience design can hinder your UX efforts. When users see a clearly stock photo on your website, they may view your company more negatively.

After all, stock photos do not have an element of personality to them. There’s no authentic, individual voice behind them. Customers want to know that the companies they follow are made up of thinking, breathing humans!

Choose photography that is realistic and authentic. Display actual images of your team members in action, for example. The more you can personalize the photography you upload, the greater the power of your user experience design.

3. Choose Images That Establish a Mood

We discussed in tip 1 the importance of playing off of moods and emotions. If you’re starting from scratch, brainstorm moods that you want to convey for certain pages.

If you own a spa, you’ll likely want to create a mood of calm, serenity, and introspection.

If you manage online reputations, you may want to consider creating a mood that’s solution-oriented. Your content and images may reflect confidence, action, and enthusiasm.

To glimpse this in action, check out the website for this reputation management agency.

Work not just from your content when choosing photos, but with the desired mood or emotions you want to inspire in your users.

4. Keep Up With Image and Marketing Trends

You can also amp up your user experience design by following current photography trends. Do some research on 2018 visual trends so that your site can stay competitive.

One trend that may be worth following is incorporating drone or aerial photography. There’s a huge emphasis right now on expansive, birds-eye shots–this is not just because drone technology is so popular at the moment.

Aerial shots are realistic, impressive, and can elicit an emotional response immediately. These are all qualities you want to find in your photography.

Lastly, always make sure that you optimize any images you upload to your website for specific keywords. Linking your photography to your current SEO campaign is standard fare these days.

5. Never Veer From Your Message

Most importantly, no matter how you go about selecting your photos for your user experience design, don’t forget your message.

We mentioned that content is king in our first tip. This is because the content is your vehicle for giving your users the message you want them most to hear.

Remember, user experience design is about the experience. It’s about delivering messages and ideas through interaction and navigation.

Always make sure that your message shines brightly through your content and photography, and you’ll be leveraging your UX design well.

On a technical level, this means not overwhelming your content with many images. Select several high-resolution, key images for your entire website. Make sure that all photos are high-quality and professionally shot.

Do a test run, too. Navigate to your website and assess the overall UX through the site’s photo use. What do you think?

How to Use Photography in User Experience Design

UX Design is a critical way for you to show your users that you care. With UX, you can boost your online authority and maximize the results of your marketing efforts.

Photography plays a huge role in UX, and should not be taken lightly. When you’re working with photos and UX, always prioritize your content and message.

Choose images based on of the mood you want to generate per page. Stay away from stock photos and keep up with visual trends.

At PSD Learning, we have all the resources you need to dive into the world of digital design. If you’re ready to implement your photography into your UX design, check out some Photoshop How To’s!