Design, CG Graphics & Inspiration
Pictures make your information more interesting

Pictures make your information more interesting

Hello everybody! I’ve made this article by combining a few posts from my personal blog []. I’d like to tell you about some interesting thingies that might be helpful in increasing your sales, keeping a few dozen more visitors at your website, or making a simple, easy-to-grasp tale out of a voluminous, sophisticated article. You will also learn the descriptions and addresses of some of those thingies.

We usually call them ‘pictures’ or ‘images’, I kid you not.

What’s the catch?

Well, the idea is utterly simple: add some informative and relevant-to-the-topic pictures to your text. I guess everybody can understand my point. However, many people don’t take that approach in practice, so those who care about using pictures get a boost on their road to success.

Three solid arguments for adding pictures

1. Pictures go first, followed by text. In any text, a picture stands out so much that we see it before we can perceive the text.
2. A picture prepares the reader for the text. By looking at a picture, we can immediately recall many facts somehow related to it. After that, we can perceive the text much easier.
3. It’s enough to see a picture once. While you use words to describe the main points, you can put a lot of small things into a picture, so that each of those details might attract an extra reader.

Striking example

Here’s a striking example demonstrating the benefit of using pictures: compare webpages on Apple iPod and Microsoft Zune HD, particularly, the technical specifications pages.

Apple iPod vs. Microsoft Zune HD

Note that two completely different approaches are used — one is a popular one, while another is just much better:

1. Microsoft’s page is intended for those who prefer to read technical specs; probably, it’s assumed that those who cannot understand dry technical stuff needn’t read it.
2. Apple’s page is made for its (prospective) customers, ordinary people who sometimes don’t know all the technical intricacies but may keep reading the highly technical page for a while, because it’s so interesting to look at vivid explanatory pictures, and might make out what those parameters mean after all.

Now let me tell you about some places where you can find lots of useful pictures.

Searching for pictures: free stock photo websites


Image search capabilities offered by Google and Yandex are just great if you are looking for something specific: events, persons, or goods. The search engines can even find various angle shots and poses. It’s much harder to find quality photos on general topics or some metaphorical pictures.

Stock.xchng


Stock.xchng is a free stock photo site, containing great pictures for general topics. Though provided free of charge, photos are of good quality, and there are some 400,000 of them. You must be registered to download full-size photos, but in most cases, 500 pixel previews will do for the Web.

Photo laboratory


Photo laboratory is the owner and distributor of one of the largest collection of high-resolution, exclusive free photos intended for commercial use. Some 250,000 photos are available. Photos are easily searchable. You must be registered to download full-size photos, while photo previews can be accessed for free.

Photos.com


Photos.com is a website where you can find 2 million-plus very high-quality stock photos. You cannot download them for free, but by pointing the mouse on a photo, you can see its preview WITHOUT (!) a watermark. Point the mouse and press the Print Screen key, and you get a quality picture of 300 to 400 pixels in width, which is rather adequate for placing on a website.

Stockvault


Stockvault contains 15,000-plus good stock photos, and offers all of them absolutely for free! You can download full-size photos free of charge and without registration.

Inmagine


Inmagine offers a lot of good photos. Free previews of 400 pixels in width, without watermarks, are available. Cool feature: a Similar Images button under each photo, which works just great!

DeviantArt


DeviantArt is a huge website, dedicated to all kinds of graphics. There’s a special Stock Images section too.

Morgue File


Morgue File is an absolutely free stock photo site. Its only shortcoming is that not all photos are up to the mark, and sometimes you may find rather low-quality ones.

EveryStockPhoto


EveryStockPhoto — another good stock photo site with lots of pictures.

Pictorial metaphors

It’s often preferable to use a metaphorical image rather than a photo. In such case, try looking for GUI icons — it’s their purpose to carry a certain meaning while being as simple as possible. The size of an icon usually doesn’t exceed 256 pixels, which is enough for an explanatory picture.

Review of stock image sites

Iconspedia

  • Handy and accurate search: 40 icons per search-result page, and you can select those you like quickly and easily.
  • There are many categories, which are divided into subcategories somewhat illogically, so better use the search feature.
  • Search results are nicely divided into icon sets, so that you see both icons and icon sets; surely, you know that icon sets are valuable for their icons’ adherence to a specific style.
Icon Archive

  • 100+ icons are shown on a page.
  • You might be annoyed by its built-in Google search. A search-result page contains a number of text links, which you have to click one by one to see the respective icons.
  • Detailed categories. It’s better to look for icons by categories rather than using the search feature.
  • You might find this collection extremely useful: a separate stock of old school icons, 32px x 32px x 8bit.
Icon Finder

  • This website is specifically designed for easy searching of GUI icons. There’s a separate search by icon sets too.
  • A nice feature: displaying of icons in various sizes and against various backgrounds.
  • A really huge number of high-quality icons.
Free Icons Download

  • You can look for icons only by icon sets.
  • Again, a built-in Google search is used, which is not very suitable for searching for icons.
  • There are not that many icons, but looking for them here won’t hurt you either.
DeviantART

A little bit more about DeviantArt. The Icons section. You can search for icons within a certain category, so it’s easy to find quickly something related to a specific topic. One of the benefits of such portal compared to a pure stock image site is the higher activity of its users: people upload their images and discuss their own and others’ work, so you can find more quality and fresh stuff here.

IconLook

Gread and simple icons search. Can find icon by 12×12, 16×16, 22×22, 32×32, 48×48, 64×64 and 128×128 sizes. Eacj icon have multi sizes.

It’s really important

The following trends can be observed lately: a general increase in popularity of gravatars and web galleries at various websites; a keen interest to all kinds of icon sets; icons are being added to many web posts and news releases. Soon a new rule might appear: if you have the better picture, you win.

  • Splashnology Editors,
  • November 2, 2009

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This post has been written by the team here at Splashnology.com

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