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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 03, 2010

Website photography needs to get real

Jakob Nielsen's latest eye-tracking survey has found images put on websites purely for decoration are largely ignored, whereas images of real people associated with the content, or images containing product information, are studied more closely.

by Helen Leggatt

Invest in good photography, is Jakob Nielsen's advice to website owners. Internet users are already being flooded with "fluff" and don't engage with generic images of people or products.

Instead, browsers want to glean information from images. For instance, on company blogs they want to see a portrait of the actual writer - not stock photography. The same goes for staff profiles and customer contact staff.

For product sales it's the same - consumers want to see the actual products, not a one-size-fits-all photo that gives them little visual feedback.

Nielsen demonstrates the difference by using eye-tracking plots from Amazon, who use generic images for some products, and Pottery Barn, who use well-staged images of actual items.

If generic product photography must be used, it's safe to say your product descriptions will need to work much, much harder to make the sale.

Tags: e-commerce, photography, product images

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