Is That Large Image a Hero or Zero for Your Web Goals?

header_PELICANYou can’t surf the web these days without coming across sites that have a really large image dominating the home page. Generally called “hero” images, these are intended to have visual impact that makes you want to read the content.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Last year I offered some concerns and advice regarding the rotating version of this approach. During a recent search for a template for a client’s website redesign, I was pleased to see that most no longer encourage the use of a rotating carousel on the home page. However, the vast majority make use of a hero image as the main design element of the home page.

I hadn’t recommended a hero image for this client, who needs the focus to be on a range of services offered. Like many small business, she has some photos that illustrate her business, but none that would stand up to such large and prominent treatment. Using a stock image made no sense.

The site is a work in progress. It will have a home page hero, but it will be sized smaller than suggested so the keywords of the company’s services also gain prominence on the screen.

If you are grappling with the same issue (hero or no her?), you’ll find the latest advice from Nielsen Norman Group to be helpful:

Large images are visually appealing, but they can harm the overall user experience if they aren’t appropriately prioritized.

As you find the right solution and balance for your needs, consider:

  • Know your goals. What do you want visitors to your home page to do?
  • Can an image support your goal?
  • Do you have an image that advances your goal? Is a stock image congruent with your business or will it feel less than authentic?

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