Use specific, non-generic photos on your website. That's the result of a new study from web consultant and author Jakob Nielsen.
Nielsen's latest eye-tracking survey found "big feel-good images that are purely decorative" are mostly ignored online. He found users will engage with an image for extended periods of time when they know the photo of a person or object is non-generic and corresponds to the text.
The study compared a set of products on Pottery Barn's furniture web site and a page of televisions on Amazon.com. The research found users largely ignored the televisions on the Amazon page because the images were generic and not inviting.
In contrast, when people looked at the photos on the Pottery Barn website they spent a longer time on the page and engaged with the detailed photos of the actual objects for sale.
"The way to excite customers is to offer an engaging experience, which means focusing on meeting their needs. This lesson holds equally for non-profit organizations and universities, even if they don't refer to their target audience as customers," Nielsen writes on his website.
Nielsen advises web page designers to invest in good photo shoots. "A great photographer can add a fortune to your web site's business value."
PS--Did you even glance at the photo of the generic pill at the top of this post?