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Home » Are having featured images on a web page important?

Are having featured images on a web page important?  

on July 27, 2023 at 12:15pm |Updated on July 27, 2023 at 12:15pm A web page containing an image of a young girl drinking from a mug. A beautiful dog is peacefully asleep on her lap. An arrow is pointing to a larger version of the same image.

Asking ChatGPT

I asked ChatGPT had to say and it gave me some excellent answers, including why adding an Alt Tag helps screen readers read out an accurate description.

Yes, a featured image on a web page is important for several reasons:

  1. Visual Appeal: The featured image is usually the first visual element visitors see when they land on a web page. It helps to create a strong first impression and can significantly impact the overall aesthetics and appeal of the page.
  1. Content Highlighting: A featured image can represent the main topic or theme of the page's content. It acts as a visual cue, instantly conveying the subject matter and attracting the attention of visitors.
  1. Social Media Sharing: When users share the web page on social media platforms, the featured image often accompanies the link preview. An eye-catching image increases the likelihood of engagement and click-throughs.
  1. Branding: Consistently using featured images that align with your brand identity can help reinforce your brand and make your content more recognizable to your audience.
  1. Storytelling: A well-chosen featured image can enhance storytelling by adding context or emotional appeal to the content. It can help evoke specific feelings or convey the intended message more effectively.
  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engines may consider the featured image when indexing and ranking web pages. Providing relevant and optimized images can potentially improve your page's visibility in search results.
  1. User Experience: Images can break up blocks of text, making the content more scannable and engaging for users. They can also be used to illustrate concepts and enhance understanding.

However, it's crucial to use featured images responsibly. Ensure that the images are relevant to the content, properly sourced (using royalty-free or appropriately licensed images), and optimized for web performance to avoid slowing down page load times. Additionally, providing alternative text (alt text) for images is essential for accessibility, as it allows screen readers to describe the images to visually impaired users.

Here is what ChatGPT didn't say

However, there is another important reason for this. They help people understand where they are on a website. If you have a blog, for example, you might see a lot of blog titles with images shown as thumbnails. When you click on a blog, it will open up and a larger version of the same image will be showing. This makes visitors feel confident that they are on the page they are meant to choose.

Featured images should appear consistently

I am currently on an audit and, during my initial checks, I noticed that, unusually, when you clicked on an article, the page opened but the image was completely different. I checked a few and, occasionally the correct image would be showing but for most of them, a completely different image was being shown.

With one article, the thumbnail image was actually used on a different article altogether.

A lot of people are nervous about using websites and the effect of something like this can, unfortunately, create feelings of confusion and uncertainty. I would suggest that this is not the feeling you want visitors to associate with your own website.

Even if the image is not directly relevant to the page it is used on, please remember that it gives people a feeling of security.

Would you like to find out more?

If you would like to find out more about website accessibility, please follow these links:

Watch my TED Talk
Find out more about website accessibility audits 
Discuss having an accessibility audit of your website
Have a 1-hour consultation on any aspect of website accessibility 

Clive Loseby
Access by Design

Beautiful, WCAG Compliant, Accessible Website Design
Delivering an Outstanding Website Accessibility Audit
Award-winning Web Design, Chichester



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