It’s Trendy to Be Illustrated

trendytobeillustrated
Websites have been shifting away from text, going toward images and videos. Why is this?

Well, there are some solid reasons for minimizing the amount of text on your blog:

The Pros of Using More Images

  1. More people (about 70% of the world’s population) are visual learners–they take in information better with pictures rather than words. Thus, charts, graphs, illustrations, and other images are going to be more easily understood by your audience.
  2. Making images is often easier and more fun than writing up blog entries day after day. Images can be more easily designed in creative and colorful ways than text can be.
  3. Website visitors can more easily save images to their hard drive or share it with other people using social media. You can’t do that so easily with text, even with an excerpt of your blog entry.

But Wait a Minute…

While there are benefits to doing more things by illustrations and images, I believe there are drawbacks, too, and they concern me a great deal, both as an English major and a former Language Arts teacher.

The Cons of Going Completely Textless

  1. Images make us lazy readers; we end up not able to focus on long paragraphs because we haven’t practiced this skill often enough. (This is also called “how to make your English teachers cry”)
  2. Images are harder to format than text, since they are a fixed height and width. You’ve pretty much got to design your site around displaying your images properly.
  3. Images are not always mobile-device-friendly. Ever tried looking at an un-resizable image on a mobile browser? It’s usually blown up too big, or it shows up way too small to be any use. Text is a lot friendlier (and easier to load) on mobile data connections.

What Do We Do About This?

Here are a few ways to include more text on your websites without overwhelming your readers:

  • Include enough images to make your content interesting, but also provide descriptive text captions. (This also makes your website friendly to screen readers)
  • Space out your lines of text using the CSS “line-height” property–whatever your body font size is in pixels, set your line-height to be 4-5 pixels taller. (Example: “font-size: 18px; line-height: 22px;”)
  • Use images as highlighters for your text–place them so that they draw attention to the important points.
  • Write and format descriptive, bold subheadings/headings to make your articles easy to scan through for content.

Summary

Our sites don’t have to be completely text-free in order to be “modern sites”–instead, we can include images WITH our text. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; in fact, our visitors will benefit greatly from seeing lots of different information formats on our pages!

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