How to Improve Graphic Placement in Your Web Design

December 19, 2012
Filed under Graphic Design, Website Design

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Studies have shown that there is an enormous increase in the number of people who will read an article if the text is accompanied by a photograph. Yet that doesn’t mean that just any old graphic placed anywhere on the page will have the same effect. While any graphic is better than no graphic, where that graphic is placed on the website and in what context can make a big difference in whether the boost in readership created by the graphics will be large or small. Here are a few tips of how you can maximize your readership through effective graphic placement.

Center It

As a general rule drawings and photos look best when centered within the text. This is especially true when it is the lead or dominate image introducing the text. The center is where your eyes automatically go first, so in order to maximize their effectiveness putting the graphic in the center of the space generally provides the clearest and most effective presentation to your reader. Of course for every rule there are exceptions:

Don’t Center It

Because centering is the generally expected location for a graphic, doing the unexpected and placing it elsewhere can be an effective way of grabbing attention. This is especially true if you are using an especially artistic or unusual image that is already unconventional. Placing an image slightly to one side, too high or too low or at odd angles can work if the context calls for emphasizing the unconventional. However, remember that such exceptions only work when used sparingly, or the sense of novelty gets lost.

Size Matters

A large graphic is almost always centered, but when it comes to other sizes it is not uncommon for smaller images to be put to one side. This is especially true with small pictures meant to accompany the part of the text where someone is interviewed, which often show a head shot of the person being quoted. Such pictures establish a sense of who a person is, but is not intended to be a meaningful portrayal of the subject. In general, the smaller the graphic is the less likely you are to center it and instead just let it blend in with left or right side of the text.

Break Up Text

The longer an article is the more likely multiple graphics are called for. Studies have shown that people are intimidated by lots of text, even if it is about a topic in which they are already interested. A large block of uninterrupted text looks like a lot of time and work to read, so readers may be discouraged from even trying. However, breaking up the text with photos and other graphics is a good way to make your text appear less intimidating. The images need not even relate directly to what the text is about. For example, The New Yorker Magazine famously places irrelevant cartoons onto text filled pages to break them up.

Let the Text Dictate

What role graphics play in your web design is something that no one can really give you much more than a general guide for. In the end the best placement of a graphic on your website is dependent on variables that differ from webpage to webpage. But if you keep in mind the key role that graphics play in enhancing and inviting you into the text, then the best placement possibilities are likely to present them.

How to Improve Graphic Placement in Your Web Design, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

Shiraz Ali


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