I’d like to take a brief moment (the time it takes to read this blog post) to point out the importance of properly and skillfully integrating graphics and images into websites and textbooks. Done right, and graphics can save readers a lot of time and better explain some concepts in ways print and text just can’t compete with. That being said, there are far too many examples (sadly) of images and graphics done the wrong way, where they become an eyesore and detractor to a page and to a readers’ enjoyment and comprehension of the content. I offer up two examples to make my point:
The Good: Apple’s “Apps for Education” Showcase.
What’s great about this page is that each category (or school subject) is augmented and enhanced by the included pictures. Each section is not overwhelmed by the graphics and the menu below each graphic allows the user the option to see more graphics and examples, rather than the page being cluttered by potentially unnecessary images.
The Bad: Discovery Education’s Lesson Plans Page
Though it isn’t a truly “bad” example of graphics implementation (meaning that there is obviously a rhyme and reason for the placement of the graphics), Discovery’s page shows a less than stellar effort where graphics are involved. Each page, regardless of the topic or difficulty of subject matter, only has one picture. Each picture is a rather non-descript thumbnail that truly neither adds to nor detracts from the page. The images themselves are mostly low-res and don’t offer any functionality or improved experience to the user. …they are just pictures, and not worth a thousand words, or even two.