Implementing website hero images are just one of the many website design strategies that effective website creators will use to engage viewers. With thousands of websites competing for the spotlight, placing an eye-catching hero image on your website is a great first step in improving the overall appearance of the site.
What is a Hero Image?
Simply put, a website hero image is typically a larger banner that can be found at the very top of a website. Due to the grandeur of the image, it is also commonly referred as a hero header. They are typically eye-catching, colorful, and vibrant. When an internet user first gets onto your website, the hero image is likely the very first thing they see. Because of this, the hero image can create the first impression a user has with the site . It serves as an identifying marker that this user will associate with your website’s brand, values, and even morals. It could either entice or repel your viewers and because of this, you have to be extremely careful and strategic when picking your hero images.
Why are Hero Images Important?
As stated earlier, your hero image is helping your user create its first impression of your site. It aids them in deciding if they are interested in spending time on your website or not. Even if the user is initially not that intrigued in your site, seeing its visual appeal through your hero image will likely help boost your status in their eyes.
Your hero image is also important because it encompasses your company’s mission, status, and goals without words. The hero image establishes what your website is all about and serves as an unspoken invitation for users to join your virtual community. Whether they decide to accept or decline this invitation to learn more about the information your site provides or buy a product you are selling on the site can often depend heavily on the attractiveness of your hero image. With this in mind, it is imperative to pick a hero image that is visually appealing and that correlates to the contents of your website and standards for your company.
Benefits of Hero Image Usage
Now that we have established what hero images are and why they are important, let’s dive into the benefits of using one on your site!
1. Provide Quick Context
With products or brand concepts that may be lengthy or difficult to understand, hero images eradicate any lengthy and confusing written explanations that take time for you to write and take up your viewers time to read. In this way, an effect hero image or video can do all the talking for you. It saves time and presents your product, service, or website with a stunning introduction to new clients, readers, or customers.
2. Evoke Emotion
Oftentimes hero web design is focused on evoking some sort of initial reaction or emotion out of viewers. Many philanthropic foundations and charities would benefit from a hero image that compels viewers to donate to their cause by including a powerful, tear-jerking, or emotionally charged photo as their hero image. In situations where an intense emotion is trying to be communicated, original hero images can really come in handy. Oftentimes, when a website is attempting a call to action towards a cause, very intense images are selected. Be weary; however, to make sure that your hero image isn’t too graphic or disturbing as to advert your viewers. You want a hero image that is compelling and authentic but also digestible for the general public.
3. Celebrity or Influencer Endorsement
Some websites are lucky enough to be shouted out or endorsed by big shot celebrities or notable influencers who appeal to the sites target audience. Having a hero image where the individual is seen using their product, interacting with their site or giving their support to the website or company can be extremely influential to the viewers of the site. Although having a well-known star featured on the hero image can be extremely helpful in grabbing the audience’s attention, it is important to be wary of the individuals being featured. Being picky of those you choose to endorse your brand is essential to its success. Only select influencers and celebrities that hold the same values as the brand. Being strict on who you allow to represent your brand’s mission and values will help keep away any unwanted negative attention and will ultimately aid in your website’s ranking and success.
4. Founder/CEO recognition
Some websites strive to place a face to the name of their brand by making their founder or CEO on the hero image. Oftentimes, seeing the face behind the brand helps users trust the website or company more. The same thing goes for employees of the brand who are in the hero image. Seeing real faces of people who are representative of the brand and its values adds credibility to the information, products, or services of the site. It also provides much needed legitimacy that might be missing if your website is still very new and unrecognized by most.
5. Benefit Focused
If a website is selling a product or service, having a hero image that clearly showcases the major benefits of its product is extremely effective. If this is the first time the user is interacting with the brand or hearing of the product, seeing its benefits can have a profound impact on the viewers perception of the brand and entice them to learn more by clicking on other areas of the site.
Components of Effective Hero images
1. Image Quality and Loading Time
Effective hero image design is crucial to keeping users engaged on your site. One component to keep in mind is the quality of your hero image. A company mistake made in hero web design, is using images that fit only one technology medium. For example, many website designers will place a fairly large hero image that will look crisp and clear on a computer. However, when using the website on a mobile device, the image suddenly becomes blurry, fuzzy, or perhaps doesn’t load properly or in a reasonable amount of time. This discrepancy in the hero image definition can severely hinder your websites traffic and cause less and less people to visit your site all together. In addition, if the hero image doesn’t load in time, it does not achieve its intended purpose and your website loses out on an opportunity to create that initial eye catching first impression.
Some believe that an eye -catching picture is all that is needed to create an effective hero image. However, this is not always the case. You have to question the content of the image used as well. Ask yourself, “Is my hero image an original photo or a stock image?” Stock images can be professional and convenient image options in some cases. However, an effective hero image web design will stay clear of overusing low quality stock images as they can often be seen as tacky and lackluster to internet users and can cause a significant decrease in your site’s credibility and attractiveness. To add value to your hero image, think of ways to create a more authentic connection to your audience by using high-quality original photos. Original photos are unique to your site and brand and will more adequately reflect the flow and theme of your site. If you must use stock images, there are a variety of online platforms with a plethora of high-quality stock images to choose from.
Another question you can ask yourself when it comes to hero image design is “What does my hero image say about my website?”. In other words, think about what your hero image is trying to achieve. Is your hero image trying to get users to buy something specific from your site? Is your hero image meant to point your users attention to a specific article or cover story? Is your hero image meant to encourage your users to a certain call to action? Think about what sort of value your ideal hero image would be doing for your website and that will help you pick the best one.
3. Interactive Features
Thirdly, one last effective component of a website hero image is how effective it is at creating an interaction between the user and the site. The best sort of images not only serve aesthetic purposes, but provide the next step in creating a connection between the users and the site. Perhaps one of the goals of your site is to get more users signed up with a personal account. If this is the case, be sure to include a quick and easy sign up box that is embedded onto your hero image. Let us say that your website wants to sell more of a specific product. An effective hero should feature this product with a link to the shop.
So, Why Should You Use Hero Images in Web Design?
Whatever goal your website is trying to achieve, make sure your hero image is actively helping with this goal by creating a way for users to not only be impressed with the look of the site but also introduced to its products, services, or community.
- What is a hero image?
- Does my site need hero images?
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- What are some web design tools?
- What are website hero image examples?