Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Blogging; Picture This

"Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." - Walt Disney

Readers are more likely to view and remember blog posts that include visual content. According to speakerBOX, content with images get 94% more views than content without pictures. 
  • 90%of information sent to our brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Xerox researchers learned colored visuals increase people's willingness to read content by 80%.
  • Facebook updates with images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images.

Storytelling is not limited to text, visual images help convey our message. I like to incorporate original content when possible, but the pictures I find on sites like Photopin, Pixabay, and Flickr, are creative and of higher quality than what I can typically take with my smartphone. Photopin is my first stop for images because most of the content is free, I can search images by theme, and an attribution code is provided after I select the size of a picture I want to download. 

Two other tools I frequently use to enhance blog posts with visual content are Google Drawings and Nimbus Screenshot add-on for Chrome. I prefer embeddable content over inserting a file because posts will open faster in a browser and the formatting typically holds regardless of device. When I finish a Google drawing, I publish the file to the web, so HTML code is created. Inserting the visual is then an easy matter of copying the code and pasting into HTML code within Blogger.

Years ago, I spent some time as a journalist while in college. I picked up a few tricks about image sizing and page layout. I appreciate bloggers who are conscientious about the appearance of their pages and posts. My RSS reader shows thumbnails of posts in the blogroll. Following the statistics provided by research, I gravitate towards posts that have visual content. When I curate, or "flip," content into my Flipboard magazines it is the images that make them visually stunning in the iOS app. Knowing how to optimally size images for social media use helps keep a balance between text and pictures while not posting pictures that hang over the edges of the post. This infographic is a helpful resource for sizing your photos for sharing on social media.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy writing for its therapeutic value, but if a picture can save me a thousand words, then I chalk that up to being efficient with digital space. Actually, I believe there is a craftsmanship to publishing blog posts that are visually appealing and engaging. I often choose images that are somewhat ambiguous so on the one hand, they support the written message, and on the other hand, readers have the opportunity to offer their own interpretation. 

If you read blogs, how much do you value the visual content? If you're a blogger, how much thought do you put into the visual aspects of your posts?

photo credit: Canadian Pacific Sapphire Neon Tumbleweeds via photopin (license)


Aaron Davis said...

Interesting post Bob. I always include at least one visual. I used to use Drawings, but have morphed to Slides as it allows me to create a theme. I then just download the JPEG and add it to Flickr, usually via my Known account as a means of owning the image. My concern with publishing a Drawings file is that it does not allow me any means to attach a licence. In regards to my newsletter, I have started tinkering with Canva as well. I am always exploring something I guess.

Sue Waters said...

Hi Bob

As a blogger I try to break up my post as many visual options as needed to engage the reader and hopefully make the text easier to read. Sometimes it'll be images or pictures, other times it'll be videos and I'll use Heading styles and bold to break into paragraphs.

I don't see the videos I'm adding as necessarily videos. Technically they are serving a dual purpose. Some readers won't watch the videos so they will be in essence an image. While they will appeal to the reader who likes watching videos.

I also think about the visual aspect of the font on the page. Is my theme making it easier or harder for my readers to read the text directly on my blog.

Pixabay is my favorite image source.


Robert Schuetz said...

Thank you, Aaron and Sue.
Aaron, your visual content is among my favorite on the web. I appreciate these tips. As a frequent user of Slides, I will need to dig deeper into some creative uses for them. You've got me thinking about consistency across all of my social media outlets. Some will call this branding, but I see it the same way as having a consistent profile picture making the user easily identifiable.
Sue, I agree with the value that images provide to the appearance and the flow of a post. If I see several uninterrupted blocks of text, I will likely decide I don't have time for deep reading at that moment. I'm also a believer in the use of white space to break up specific points while adding some "calm" to the page.
Once again, thank you for reading and commenting. I am thoroughly enjoying the new communication avenues that #Edublogsclub is providing!

Langwitches said...

I am also a visual blogger :) My blogging has evolved to the point, that I THINK through my blog post BY creating the visual (infographic, sketchnote, etc.) I guess I am using the images as a strategy for making my thinking visible in order to WRITE.

Robert Schuetz said...

Thanks Silvia.
There is certainly a deeper understanding that occurs when we immerse ourselves in creative expression and design. Your sketchnotes and infographics are prominent in my collection of learning material - so it's a special treat getting a comment from you!

Michelle Pacansky-Brock said...

I couldn't agree more Robert. I redesigned my blog last year so it would be more visually appealing and am so grateful that I did. As a formally trained art historian, I like to remind people that we are, by nature, visual creatures. Visual language preceded the written word and without images, we deprive a very innate part of how we communicate.

I've been enjoying Unsplash as a relatively new resource for images shared in the public domain.

Thanks for sharing.