It only takes a user 50 milliseconds to form an opinion on any site? Web developers and designers really have very little time to make a good impression on a person when they visit a resource. That is why it is so important to correctly design the main page + site header, which everyone sees first.
Many web projects on the web have one common way to attract the attention of the audience – the use of bright colorful designs, in particular – placing a large background image or a large banner at the top of the website. It is also called “hero image”.
This “main image” is not just a pretty illustration on a website to grab attention, it should be something more. Developers need to try to make a powerful visual communication tool that can increase sales and become a real “hero” of your online business.
In our translation of the original article, you’ll find eight helpful tips to help you create the right hero image – one that grabs attention, converts users into loyal customers, and makes a useful addition to your website design.
1. Use relevant images
This is a very important point. Appropriate quality graphics can help increase the overall site score, while the wrong illustration risks ruining the overall design experience.
When choosing a hero image, give preference to images that match the theme, content and idea of the site, for example, as done here. Otherwise, the hero image and content will be inconsistent – this will confuse the user and leave the site.
Materials from photo stocks on the main page are already a cliché. There is nothing wrong with them, but if you really want to quickly familiarize users with the main idea of your site, or do not want to be like many other companies, then you better avoid this approach. Basically these are irrelevant photos that do not arouse much interest among users.
2. Create a dazzling masterpiece from the hero image
As Saul Bass rightly said, “Design is visual thinking.” Indeed, this is the same content, only presented as an image. It allows you to highlight the content of a web page.
A carefully crafted hero image will delight the eye and grab the attention of users. Check out this great example from Apple.
Tip: the main picture should not present all the information, it is desirable to emphasize only the key and most important points.
3. Try to be emotional
According to surveys conducted, 70% of consumer loyalty and decision to make a purchase are formed on the basis of emotions. If your graphic banner is endowed with personality and plot, then it will surely cause a response from visitors. Expressive, inspiring images transform an inanimate product or corporation into something that can evoke normal human feelings.
An effective web design that reflects emotion is built for people in the first place, not for metrics, algorithms or search engine SEO bots. And this rule works in all cases – for goods, large companies or individual entrepreneurs.
Using emotion to connect with your audience is a great way to generate positive user attitudes that help build customer loyalty and brand trust.
4. High quality graphics
Pictures should not be blurry or retouched. Poor quality photos look unsightly, in addition, it is difficult for users to understand what is shown in them. The use of such options in web design indicates a lack of professionalism. The hero image banner is the face of your brand, so try to avoid using “pixelated” images (unless they are pixel art).
Advice: if you do not want images to look blurry, the best way is to use vector graphics editors such as Adobe Illustrator, etc.
5. Add CTA elements to improve conversion rates
The most common call-to-action (CTA) is buttons placed over a large image at the top of the screen. It is very important to achieve visual harmony between hero image, content and CTA button, especially if you are developing a landing page.
When content is placed on top of a photo, web designers usually adjust its contrast or brightness. This is necessary for the text / button to be clearly visible.
In the above example, the hero image serves as support for the page header, drawing users’ attention to the CTA element (by the way, the girl’s gaze is also directed towards the text block with the button). In addition, part of the background is deliberately darkened so that the white font can be seen better.
6. Use contrasts
One of our main tasks is to win the attention of visitors. The famous iPod ad has cleverly used contrast to draw the audience’s attention to the audio player. The dark silhouette and white headphones stand out clearly against the light green background.
7. Optimize the image for different screen sizes
Make sure the photo is sized to fit the display of any device. Resize the image for different platforms, even if you need to resize it.
Tip: Use tools that allow you to adjust the dimensions of your images. For example, Cloudinary is a cloud-based web project that allows you to track image breakpoints interactively.
8. Unleash your creative imagination
Creative illustrations and hand-drawn web designs are fast becoming a popular alternative to simple hero image banners. They provide designers with several advantages over “traditional” photography, for example:
- give more opportunities to convey information about different abstract concepts that are difficult to capture in one frame.
- they are easier to customize for a specific brand – this helps to easily connect your company’s philosophy that makes it unique, the services provided, and even your team in a single image.
The above is a great example from Singapore-based graphic design agency Ingrid Design, which has been successfully serving companies from a wide variety of industries since 1998.
Tip: If you are posting multiple illustrations, make sure they blend harmoniously with each other – as if they were drawn by the same artist. Ingrid Design consistently use smooth color transitions – gradients in all their graphics.
Conclusion. Hero image is an effective tool for improving the design of any web project. You just need to remember a couple of simple rules: images must be of high quality, match the rest of the content and be interesting to view. All elements of the visual design of a web page should be clearly visible and readable so that users quickly understand their main meaning and message.