Nicole Baster | research paper

How the use of visual communication influences web design

Images as a perfect communication tool not only manage to eliminate language barriers, but they can, in addition to the visualization of complex content, convey emotions. With visual communication one can save time and messages arrive faster.

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We live in a time that is heavily influenced by pictorial visualizations of all kinds through multiple areas of our lives, by all means including the internet. Rapid advances in browsers and other technologies have transformed the Internet, formerly a text-only medium, into the World Wide Web, a highly visual publishing environment.Thanks to the ever-increasing flood of images and information, designers must not only layout appealing surfaces but also consider perceptual processes. Therefore I looked into sociological as well as semiotic considerations on visual communication in the World Wide Web. In the course of that I also defined the different purposes images can have and how they can be used most effectively.

As for example IKEA-instructions for assembling furniture showed in the past, images are immensely powerful and words often become redundant. The art of not writing and omitting needless words has become more and more common on the web in the last few years. Pictures have the power to create an emotional response in the audience very fast, since they can communicate almost instantly. This is because our brain can interpret them much quicker than text.

  • Which is more important in design: images or text?
  • How do these two components work together?
  • How can images replace text and to what extent does it make sense?

Especially in an international perspective images can be very useful, since they don’t require special translation. Nevertheless, cultural backgrounds definitely play a role in perception of various visualizations and need to be carefully considered.