“Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information, but ignore (…) “jazz up” webpages.” Jakob Nielsen @NNgroup – @christianvasile


How to Use Images Successfully – Web Design Usability Guide
VIa 1stwebdesigner.com

Web Design Usability Guide – Dealing with Images

Indeed, users want to see photos on websites, but they want them to be relevant. They would prefer a webpage that doesn’t have visual images rather than a webpage that has lots of photos that just make it heavy and cluttered. The key in using images on websites, according to the study, is based on a few basic ideas:

  • Image fundamentals – size, composition, quality and exposure are four important things to look for in a good image. People actually look for quality in images, even the contrast makes a huge difference.
  • Effectiveness – if the picture creates excitement or interest, then it works. It is down to three characteristics:
    • Emotional appeal – does the product in the picture look good and make the user want it?
    • Rational appeal – does the image show the benefits of the product?
    • and Brand appeal – does the picture fit your brand?
  • Transmitted message – this is about the image sending the right message to the website readers.
  • Anticipated user response – this is a bit more difficult to put into practice, but the basic idea behind it is that the picture should help decision-making and create a desire for the product. We will talk about this a bit later.

Purely decorative images tend to be ignored unconsciously by our brain. Like a radar, if the images are there only as a filler, the brain will ignore them. The study concluded that pictures and images of real people or real products are automatically categorized as important and are to be studied in detail by the human brain. If you have a personal blog, people would rather see your face than a drawing or a caricature. They want to see the face of the person communicating with them, it is a matter of trust and bonding.

If you own a company, it is a very good idea to take some time talking about the people behind it – using images. It gives a personal touch to an otherwise faceless company and people dig that. People actually want to know (or at least see) who the people are behind a company. If you can afford it, invest in a good photographer and try to stay away from stock pictures (especially from stock pictures that aren’t relevant to your content). It might cost a few bucks, but it will add a lot of value to your company website.

Several eye-tracking study show that the more detail your product images have, the better the results you will have. Yes, studio pictures of a big flat screen TV work just fine, but is just fine good enough for you? People want to see details, show them!

Full article 🙂 !

Quality and relevance

Below I will show you some results of different studies. You will see several websites marked with heat zones. The red areas indicate where the users’ eyes were mostly focused, while the blue areas show the exact opposite, indicating what is ignored or a turn-off for visitors.

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Eye-tracking study on Adelphia’s website

Besides the fact that it is an incredibly outdated design, you can clearly see that none of the heat zones are on images. It is because all the images embedded in their webpage are purely fillers. Had they been using relevant pictures, the heat zones might have been a bit different, but for now it shows how much of a waste of space images are on their site.

Full article 🙂 !

Another good example can be seen below. New York Magazine’s restaurant section has also been part of the eye-tracking study and it shows that even if worldwide known chefs are featured in images, the quality is still important. So even if the pictures are somewhat relevant, low-contrast and small size images are simply ignored. Image quality is as important is the relevance of the image being used. There has to be a balance, where quality and relevance are the two guiding principles.

NYMag, retaurant section

Eye-tracking on NY Mag’s website

Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice wrote an article entitled “Images as Obstacles” some years ago. The images above are courtesy of Peachpit and the amazing heads who published the study. Thank you for your tremendous work!

Guiding the user
Full article 🙂 !

smashingbuzz.com >>> hot shots!


Dreamstime – A Superlative Stock Photography Service

Dreamstime – A Superlative Stock Photography Service

Various uses of stock photography have made its supply necessary for creative assignments, so many people now don’t hire any photographer now, instead of hiring a photographer they use stock photos to fulfill their wishes because it’s pretty cheaper way and of course easy too, they simply buy stock photos online now and those of you, who are looking for a best resource to get stock images, your search is over now – here’s what you’re looking for. Look no further, use Dreamstime that offers impressive stock photography at very impressive rate. Yes you can find free stock photos too over Dreamstime, this reason make it unique.

This service is sourcing stock photos from worldwide contributors, according to an estimate the Dreamstime have up to 14 million photos currently. The service uploads more than 400,000 images per month, it features a library for images that is growing continually according to impressive rates. Even the service is available in many languages including Dutch, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Greek and more. This stock photo agency doesn’t only focus on images but also on community-based development model that known as Dream Team.

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_______________________________________________________________30 Technology Web Designs

30 Technology Web Designs

Our lives depend on technology, and the shortest power outage can reinforce this fact. We use technology for everything from communication to food and water. The internet is perhaps the most revolutionary technology of our lifetimes, and the internet itself is full of other new technologies. Since technology plays such a key role on the internet, it’s no wonder that a ton of technology websites now exist as well.

Everything from app websites to ecommerce website creator tools have their own sites dedicated to them. Each of these sites has to have a design that stands out from the crowd and matches the function of the technology. In this post, we’ll look at 30 technology web designs.

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How to Go Beyond Stock Photo Cliches


Stock photos are an excellent way to make a website communicate visually. They are inexpensive and high-quality photos are easy to obtain. There are plenty of well known stock photo websites that have new collections of images added to them every day. But still, many websites still use the same cliche photos – here are three popular examples to learn from and avoid:

The Value of Team Work

Working as a team

This image has several variations, but the general idea is always the same. “We are a friendly, warm organization that values its bright team members. We are empowered through our inner cooperation”.

The World is in your Hands

World in hands

You’ve probably seen this image on clean-tech websites or any websites promoting a “green” agenda. The world is after all, a pretty small place as it’s nesting warmly in a delicate hand. We are closely connected to this planet and are positioned to take care of it.

The Customer Service Girl

The customer service girl

She’s young and beautiful and always has a smile for you – the customer. She is also very responsible looking, which is how you know you’re in good hands. This is the company I want to hire! If you recognize one or more of these images, you get the point. Some images have just been overused, especially in web design. However, there are solutions and alternatives to using this type of photos.

How to Avoid Cliches

Use illustrations

Using illustrations instead of photos is a great option. Good illustrations can convey lots of personality and unique character. You can find great stock illustrations to make a statement and convey a message. Illustrations tend to be bolder and less ordinary compared to the average stock photo. A few years ago it would have been a tough task to find websites that use illustrations. But times have changed, and today, some extremely successful websites use illustrations.

mailchimp

Go Abstract

Pictures of people acting in a certain way draw attention, especially when the photos represent a particular demographic that you are inviting into your website. However, high resolution abstract photos, can give a site a modern feel. They can convey a certain emotion that you wish to communicate or be associated with. Often times, images which are less literal can give a site a sophisticated appearance. Careful though, abstract photos can damage your website if you use them as a replacement for photos

Go abstract

Use Styling 

You can always enhance a stock photo and give it a different, more unique style. If you have zero graphic design experience, get some help from a designer. The point is that you can easily turn a regular stock photo into an “original” by applying modifications such as filters and collages. For example, you can remove the “box”, the frame around the image, and integrate the subject of the photo seamlessly into your site’s background.

Moving company Wix website template

Stock Photo  Sites with a Twist

If you’re looking for photos with an added twist, be sure to expand your search to sites like Flickr and Morguefile.

Flickr

For more “niche” type of photography that includes landscape, illustrations and art, visit Deviantart and Whoophy.

Using Instagram Photos

Photos can turn out awesome through use of Instagram’s  simple filters. As a result, many amateur photographers can produce compelling photos on their smartphones. Some brands have even started integrating Instagram photos into their product pages – why not integrate yours – or others’ –  into your website? Have a look at web.stagram,  Instagram’s web version, to browse through images on your desktop.

Use Instagram

Instagram copyright policy generally states that “Instagram doesn’t own the images – Instagram users do”.  To view the restrictions imposed on a particular photo, look at the label placed by its owner. You can always contact them directly and ask to use their creation.

Create your own beautiful HTML5 website today! >>

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Hakia Semantic Search Engine Powers New Stock Intelligence Service

Pssst…want a hot stock tip? Perhaps you might want to check out Hakia-search powered SENSENews, while you still can. The new service aggregates information from news and social media and filters it so as to produce a score to characterize the performance of a company. Individual subscriptions to the semantic-enabled service will be available for a limited time, as the main targets for SENSENews are outfits such as trading houses and hedge funds.

As Dr. Riza C. Berkan, Hakia’s founder, CEO, inventor and chief scientist describes it, the service works on a simple principle: “If there is good news accumulated and the stock price has not yet responded to it, that means the stock is undervalued, because it will respond eventually. Or the other way around,” he says. Its stock indicator service will determine on any given day whether a stock is undervalued or overvalued – which could translate to a buy or sell proposition.


By Jennifer Zaino
http://semanticweb.com/hakia-semantic-search-engine-powers-new-stock-intelligence-service_b17332


Pssst…want a hot stock tip? Perhaps you might want to check out Hakia-search powered SENSENews, while you still can. The new service aggregates information from news and social media and filters it so as to produce a score to characterize the performance of a company. Individual subscriptions to the semantic-enabled service will be available for a limited time, as the main targets for SENSENews are outfits such as trading houses and hedge funds.

As Dr. Riza C. Berkan, Hakia’s founder, CEO, inventor and chief scientist describes it, the service works on a simple principle: “If there is good news accumulated and the stock price has not yet responded to it, that means the stock is undervalued, because it will respond eventually. Or the other way around,” he says. Its stock indicator service will determine on any given day whether a stock is undervalued or overvalued – which could translate to a buy or sell proposition. Leer más “Hakia Semantic Search Engine Powers New Stock Intelligence Service”

Planning For Retirement at Any Age

The market crashed — then recovered. Feeling safer? To battle the uncertainty, check out our five-part series on how to plan for retirement now.

It’s All About Good Habits and Long Term Plans

If you’re in your 20s, the path to retirement is as clear as ever. Sure, there are some bumps to maneuver: the job market is tough right now, and your near-term career advancement and earnings power may have been curbed by the recession and a whole bunch of under-saved 60-somethings staying at work longer to make ends meet. But these are short-term issues that will disappear in time. Meanwhile, your young age gives you plenty of time to prepare.


The market crashed — then recovered. Feeling safer? To battle the uncertainty, check out our five-part series on how to plan for retirement now.

It’s All About Good Habits and Long Term Plans

If you’re in your 20s, the path to retirement is as clear as ever. Sure, there are some bumps to maneuver: the job market is tough right now, and your near-term career advancement and earnings power may have been curbed by the recession and a whole bunch of under-saved 60-somethings staying at work longer to make ends meet. But these are short-term issues that will disappear in time. Meanwhile, your young age gives you plenty of time to prepare. Leer más “Planning For Retirement at Any Age”

Smashing Release : Free Web Design Icon Set By Iconshock


We are releasing new set of Web Design Icons, a free icon set designed by Iconshock for exclusive readers of Smashing Apps. Iconshock – stock icons is a professional stock icons for web and software application. If you like, you can contact them for developing of a custom icon design project too.  There are 8 icons included in this free icon set having a size of 512×512px in PNG format. Have you seen our previously released Free Computer Part Icon Set.

You are welcome to share if you know more beautiful icon sets which our readers/viewers may like. Do you want to be the first one to know the latest happenings at SmashingApps.com just subscribe to our rss feed and you can follow us on twitter and do not forget to become our fan on facebook as well.

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web-design-icons

Release Note And Usage Policy

This icon set is released under GPL lincense. You are allowed to use it for all (personal or commercial) your projects for free and without any restrictions.  We will really appreciate you if you would like to spread the word and link to this article.

Download Icons

Please do not forget to share your thoughts with us about this icon set that will help us for the next release. Because Iconshock and we are also working on another free icon set that will be released in coming week. So keep visiting us and do not forget to subscribe to our rss feed and you can follow us on twitter and do not forget to become our fan on facebook as well.

And yes! Thank you Iconshock for working with us to deliver something really useful to Smashing Apps community.

http://www.smashingapps.com/2010/04/13/smashing-release-free-web-design-icon-set.html

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INSIDER SELLING HITS NEW 2010 HIGH


The recent uptick in stocks has not been met with much enthusiasm by corporate insiders.  In fact, pessimism rules the day in the land of insider buying and selling trends.  For the week ending February 26th insiders sold a total of $1.88B in stock and purchased just $13.22MM.  Selling was up substantially from last week and buying was down substantially from last week.  The selling was the highest level experienced this year.  Interestingly, as the rally has continued insiders have actually increased their selling. Leer más “INSIDER SELLING HITS NEW 2010 HIGH”