We’re working on some updates for More Than a Review, an innovative book review site that offers ratings of books similar to movie and TV ratings, in addition to the usual reviews.The object is to find the kind of handy heads-up a friend might give you — “Everyone’s talking about 50 Shades of Grey, but it does have graphic S&M scenes. Not for your mother-daughter book club!”
The site was built by our friends at Blue Zoo Creative, and it’s attractive, but it needed some content updates.
To us, “content” means words and pictures. Graphics often include both, and in this case, both were needed.
When you’re updating content, banners are frequently in need of freshening. Text is key, of course, but what about the pictures?
Let’s have a look at the options our artist Jay Jaro came up with for More Than a Review. The first option uses the colors and fonts of the original site design. We combined the site’s original tag line, “Life’s too short to read a bad book!” with a sentence that clarifies the point of the site. In testing, subjects were able to grasp the point of the site quickly.
The second option supplements the text with a graphic of a book exuding bubbles. The color scheme is maintained, and the focus is on the content of the book — good stuff like plot twists, and perhaps also less-good things like in-your-face graphic violence. The image is attractive, cheerful, and clearly supports the text.
The third option has the same text, but illustrates it with a demure young woman reading a book. This image brings the book into focus, but also suggests that the site is primarily for women. Since the vast majority of the subscribers are female, this reflects reality. It might not reflect the plans of the site’s owners, though. Choosing a man or a woman might be fairly random for some websites, and many sites make a point of including both. However, since this website is already somewhat feminine in appearance, this image might tip it over to the point of sending male visitors away.
We can see that adding more information can be limiting. This can be good in business, if it limits visitors to the target audience. Visitors normally take just a few seconds to decide whether to stay or go, and images that resonate with a visitor and say, “You’re in the right place!” help with that decision.
Note that in each case, Jay went with illustrations rather than photos, and used the existing mood and color scheme of the site. You don’t want to create banners that look out of place in your website. If the kinds of images that convey your message don’t suit your site, you need more than just content changes.