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Why Visuals Are So Valuable

Lori Halley 05 April 2013 0 comments

One of the suggestions in our Website Spring Cleaning To Do List for refreshing your website, was to add some fresh content including some new photos. That’s because when it comes to your website, images are powerful.  They can capture a website visitor’s attention and make an emotional connection.

"Our brains are meant to see in pictures”

But aside from grabbing our attention, visuals can also help us understand things better. As Bill Franks notes in The Value of a Good Visual: Immediacy (on the HRB Blog Network),  “our brains are meant to see in pictures.” Franks explains that “visualizations allow you to immediately comprehend a complex set of relationships.” And he uses the map of the United States “to illustrate how effective visualizations allow [us] to immediately comprehend a complex set of relationships.” For example, Franks suggests that “if you looked at the US map and then [he] asked you to describe how a few states are related to one another, you [could] immediately visualize and verbalize an answer.”

Visuals can cut through the clutter

Maggie McGary also recently made the case for considering “images as content” in her post: 3 Reasons Images Just Became a Lot More Important to Your Content Strategy . McGary suggests that:

People are growing weary of traditional content. ... The sheer amount of written content, or "information pollution," is overwhelming in terms of time and attention ...That's why, ... image-sharing sites such as Pinterest and Instagram will continue to grow in 2013. McGary likens the phenomenon to paging through a magazine or coffee-table book as opposed to reading Moby Dick. Those platforms are easier for users to digest and fit into their lifestyles.

Using visuals to promote your mission

In a recent post which introduced Bill Franks’ theories on visual comprehension, Tom Suddes (Daily Nuggets Blog) offers three suggestions and illustrated examples of how nonprofits might apply Franks’ theory to help visualize your mission, programs or activities:

  • Visually capture in the simplest way … your purpose, meaning, vision, reason for existence.

  • Create the most compelling and easily understood visual of your business model. (See 3 examples here.)

  • Create a visual timeline that shows your founding, start-up, track record and credibility … and your SCALE & GROW plan. (See 3 examples here.)

Member map banner

Avoid photo faux-pas - be sure you have the rights to display visuals!

If you decide to freshen up your site with some visuals, make sure that you have the rights for or permission to display those images on your website. 

As Ken Mueller suggested in a recent post -  That Photo You Found On the Internet Could Cost You - “images on the Internet are not free. There’s a good chance that when you do a Google image search for something, someone owns the rights to that image, whether they know it or not.”

You don’t want to end up like the organization Mueller describes in his post who received an invoice for stock image fees for visuals they reproduced off another website without permission. If you are looking for images to spice up your site, here are some of the options Mueller suggests you can consider for attaining visuals:

  • Take your own pictures

  • Ask permission

  • Use Creative Commons licensed photos

  • Flickr – ...The photo hosting and sharing service seems to be the number one source of Creative Commons photos, so you might just start there.

What photos or visuals has your organization created or captured to grab your website visitor’s attention and help your donor, member or website visitor better understand your mission? Share examples with us in the comments below.

Image source:
Speaking of visuals, we are thankful that BigStockPhoto.com allows us to display images such as the one above - "stock-photo-video" on our blog.  

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 05 April 2013 at 8:30 AM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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