Website users ignore pointless pictures – how very odd?

Posted by Dave CollinsWebsite Optimisation

From Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox:

Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to “jazz up” Web pages.

And he can prove it.

Like many of Jakob Nielsen’s statements, it sounds absurdly obvious. So why do so many websites get it wrong?

How many times have you seen websites using a picture of an inanely/insanely happy person using a headset to answer a call?

Are they really that happy

How many times have you seen a real person wearing one of those headsets who looks even remotely happy?

Too many websites use images for adding a splash of colour or filling space.

A picture may well be worth a thousand words, but if the image used is cheesy and looks like low-budget stock photography, what words and ideas are being communicated?