Visuals Vs. Content. Which is more important in web design?

Visualize this scenario for a moment. You are a foodie that enjoys new tastes but are allergic to nuts. Before you is a buffet. A sumptuous spread of healthy looking, naturally aromatic, colourful, aesthetically presented spread of say, 11 dishes. Chunks and cuts. Blends and gravies. Hot and cold. Red, green and appetizing shades of all kinds. Oh! Did we tell you that you are in an exotic alien country? Yes. A tourist wanting to get the best of your experience. Isn’t the spread picture perfect? Great. You are all set to enjoy yourself and satiate an eager set of taste buds and hungry tummy. Off you go.

But whoa! Hold on! What’s in all this stuff? Any hidden, ground, blended, mashed, cooked or tucked away nuts? What’s all this stuff called, anyway, to ask around or rack ones brains to play safe? Ah yes. The dish labels. That helps. Both at guessing and asking specifically, does the Pina Matilda dip have any nuts in the blend? Any sprinkled nuts in the Hawaiian green and red salad mix smothered with Aloha dressing?

Case in point: Visuals grab attention. Visuals attract. Visuals pull. But sans some amount of text or user information presented tastefully, just visuals will just stop you in your tracks. They may not call out an action or help you make any decision to consume or even care about.

On the other hand, does a menu card make for great reading? Does a laundry list of names ring a bell? Why that green code? What’s there for vegans? Is it spicy or not? Do those chilli pepper images add value?

So there you are. We humans are visual people and started lives in caves and communicated with picture language. But that wasn’t complete until kid brother twins of letters and numbers came on the scene and made language more fulfilling. Which brings us to balance, completeness and the ‘whole’ experience.

Websites are a means to an end. A tool to communicate and call to action. A browser that comes by to admire your pictures but doesn’t use your contact form or details will remain a browser and by stander. You need to get him to act on what he was drawn to. So here is the visual hierarchy for the 21st century buyer or lead.

First, grab attention with large, prominent, relevant, pleasing visuals. Lead the eyes to brief text on what you would say of you were there. Remember, no one reads anymore. Few do, most scan and move on. Keep text brief. If possible, leverage the visual-text combo that’s called info graphics and word art or clouds. Quickly call to action. Call now. Register. Mail. Or what you will. Here again, texts and forms need to be visually pleasing.

Are we saying text is of no use or is of little use? Certainly not. Without relevant, crisp, concise content, no visual will get pick up but search engines. SEO. You need to be searched for and get ranked right, don’t you?

In a nutshell:

  1. Use attractive, relevant visuals
  2. State your USP in no uncertain terms
  3. Call out what next and lead to action

It’s all about the Golden mean and perfect balance.

Visuals Vs. Content. Which is more important in web design?

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