The concept of using large-scale images in web design has been in use for some time, but there is a definite trend in their use at present, with more and more websites being designed around large image backgrounds. This can have both benefits and drawbacks for your website, and there are several things worth considering if this is the route you would like your website to take in terms of its design.
A picture is worth…
…a thousand words, so the old adage goes. This is probably one of the main attractions of this form of web design, as by using a large image on a website’s homepage it is possible to instantly convey information about your product, service and style on first sight, and our minds are able to process images much faster than they are able to read text. This is especially beneficial for very image-based companies such as designers, photographers, architects or artists of any description, as an image can showcase a product and communicate your company’s message or purpose very quickly. However, because this first impression can convey so much to a potential client or customer, it is vital that the process of selecting your website photographs is done with great thought and care.
Keep it clear and simple
It is important to ensure that your images are not “busy” and that any other elements on the page such as text can still be clearly seen and easily read. Choosing background images which are straightforward and uncluttered will mean that visual interference with text is kept to a minimum. Make sure that the pages are still user-friendly and easy to navigate and that the image used does not distract from any elements you wish users of the site to see.
It is important to use high resolution, good-quality images when they are being used on a large scale, so that the best possible appearance is achieved whether they are being viewed on a mobile device or a large-screen monitor. It will be necessary to experiment with the images at different resolutions and to establish their quality and performance against the window widths of different browsers. Be aware that the use of high-resolution, large images will increase their file size which will, in turn, increase the loading time of your website. This may be something you wish to consider in relation to the type of visitor you hope to attract to your site; will they be happy to wait?
As well as the impact of resolution size on loading time, this can also be affected by the format of large images, and is equally important if you want your website to function at its best. Care should be taken over format selection, and these should be cross-browser compatible, web-standard formats such as JPEG, GIF or PNG. They should also be the optimum format for your type of image, for example, JPEG for photographic images and GIF for more basic graphics such as text or simple shapes.
For websites designed around large images, whether photographs, illustrations, videos or animations, considering these aspects will be helpful and beneficial when planning your website design.