The Value of Faces in Web Design


There’s something very powerful about the human face. It’s relatable, trustworthy, and familiar. Even if you’ve never seen a particular face before, there’s something comforting about it that draws you in. Well, this concept holds true when looking at modern web design. If you want to engage users and establish a sense of trust and familiarity, then you’ll want to find ways to incorporate human faces into your website design.

4 Reasons to Use Faces in Web Design 

In a vast and confusing world, humans are always seeking out something familiar. It’s why many of us enjoy returning to places where we once lived, worked, or went to school. It’s why we have a tendency to relate to people we spend time with. And a recognizable human face is one of the most familiar and reassuring things a person can see.

“When we see a face, we are automatically triggered to feel something or to empathize with that person,” writes designer Sabina Idler. Whether it’s in the real world or web design, human faces convey emotion and comfort.

If you want to maximize engagement and make your users feel comfortable and understood, then you need to use more faces in your website design. Here are a few of the specific reasons why:

 1. Establishes Trust

The first reason to use faces in web design is that human faces establish trust. However, not any human face will do. Today’s internet users are savvy and recognize the difference between actual employees and cheesy, impersonal stock photos.

Take this example (which uses a stock photo) and compare it to this example (which uses faces of actual employees). Which one makes you feel more comfortable? It’s obviously the latter example. If you want to establish trust, incorporate the faces of your employees.

2. Catches Your Visitor’s Attention

Human faces command attention. When we see a picture of a person, we automatically begin to develop opinions based on their appearance. Are they happy or sad? Do they look important? Are they worthy of trust? Would I be friends with this person? You may not literally ask these questions verbatim, but you’re subconsciously coming to related conclusions.

3. Guides the Visitor’s Eyes

Faces do an excellent job of guiding the visitor’s eyes in a certain direction. When a visitor sees the image of a person looking in a particular direction, we’re naturally drawn to what they’re looking at.

Here’s a good example of what this looks like in practice. The women’s eyes are looking towards the bottom right of the screen. This naturally draws our attention to this area. Keep this in mind when you’re developing pages with specific calls to action. If you can use an image where the individual is looking in the direction of this call, you’ll experience better results.

4. Humanizes Corporate Branding

If you’re honest with yourself, corporate branding can be pretty impersonal. While a bunch of logos and a consistent color scheme may look professional, do these do much to engage the user? In reality, most branding has a tendency to be a bit cold.

If you want to humanize your corporate branding, include some faces. These faces can add some life and energy to a site that’s boring and cliché. Just make sure you’re not using stock photography, as previously mentioned.

Bring Your Web Design to Life

There are numerous different ways to connect with your website visitors, but incorporating human faces into the design is a sure-fire way to bring an otherwise stagnant website to life. Keep the aforementioned reasons in mind and reevaluate your current approach.

About the Author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3 Responses

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