5 Types of Visual Content for Your Website


We’ve previously discussed general visual tweaks for your website. As well, there are there are several types of visual content that can be included in the body of your articles, to add visual texture or eye candy. Here are five visual types, along with options for simple and fancy variations.

  1. Images.
    A single image can help break up the density of longer text article, adding visual texture that draws in the eye.

    • Simple: Images from Flickr, a stock agency, or your own camera.
    • Fancy:
      • Lightboxed images. Lightboxing is the use of Javascript and CSS code to overlay a larger, partially transparent image when a thumbnail is clicked.
      • Use a slideshow player such as SplashCast or Slideshare, with or without background music. Examples of Slideshare’s Slidecasting can be seen on David Armano’s Logic + Emotion blog.
  2. Diagrams.
    When an image isn’t suitable, try a diagram.

    • Simple: A simple schematic drawn using Gliffy.
    • Fancy: Infographics are a step beyond diagrams, sometimes relaying some data characteristics. Information Aesthetics has many great examples.
  3. Charts + graphs.
    Charts and graphs are an old mainstay, great for representing numeric information without using a table.

    • Simple: Pie charts, bar charts, trendlines.
    • Fancy: Check out Swivel’s embeddable graphs, or various Sparklines options. Sparklines were named by Edward Tufte and are a nice compact form of charts and graphs that can convey a great deal of related sets of data in a minimal area.
  4. Video.
    Video can convey so much more than a single image can, and with all the video sharing sites available, you don’t always need to spend money producing original content.

    • Simple: A single video.
    • Fancy: A channel full of videos using SplashCast Media’s SplashCast player.
  5. Maps.
    Maps are obviously ideal when your article has some sort of geographic focus.

    • Simple: A static image of a map suffices for a general “view” of a region.
    • Fancy: Need to draw attention to points of interest on a map? Maybe you want to embed rich media (audio, images, video) into a point of interest. There are far too many web-based mapping options to list them all, but two that are customizable are Google Maps (My Maps) and Platial.

In later posts, I’ll give detailed examples of each of these types of visual content.