In his “5 Design decisions, What’s Yours” article Jared Spool talks about two websites that sell hiking boots and shares a great photoux related story.

In the early days of e-commerce, we studied how seasoned hiking customers bought hiking boots online. Two sites in our study, L.L. Bean and REI, both sold virtually identical boots at the same price with practically the same marketing copy. Yet the customers we studied were far more likely to buy the boots on the REI site than on the L.L. Bean site.

Why? Because the product pictures on the REI site showed the bottoms of the boots, whereas the L.L. Bean imagery only showed the boots standing upright. For people experienced with buying hiking boots, the tread on the bottom is important. Choosing a tread, for some hikers, can be a matter of life or death.

It’s a great example of using user requirements to inform your photo strategy.

Thanks @sophiedennis for sharing the article.

There is a great site called Placeit that lets you generate your own photos.

I can see it being really useful for client pitches, design presentations and also in general concept development work

Choose your device and your environment then drop a screenshot of your app/ website etc onto the device.

Finding good photography to use online can be really difficult.

Here’s a list of useful free photo resources from conversion optimisation expert Craig Sullivan (@optimiseordie).

Finding Creative Commons Images: Why & How by PF Anderson

Creative commons images on Flickr

‘Searching by licence’ with Bing

Free hi res images from

Free stock photos at

British Airways 'Picture Your Holiday

While conducting user research I often hear from people that “I don’t know what I’m looking for but I’ll know when I see it”.

@notonthewater shared a great example of a site from British Airways that deals with this in an interesting way.

Buying holidays is hard. People want to be inspired. Often we go to the same destinations again and again because we just don’t know what type of holiday we will have in Estonia or Turkey.

Travel sites often don’t help because the first thing they ask is ‘where do you want to go’. We often have no idea but we know what type of experience we want to have when we get there.

This site from BA acknowledges this behaviour (which in itself is smart strategic thinking) and allows you to browse by photos that represent the experience you are looking for.

This ultimately is translated into a destination list. 

I seem to post a lot on here these days about personas and photography.

I hope this is indicative of people paying photos more attention and creating better photos to accompany their UX deliverables.

This latest example by Jason Traviscaught my eye because the objects beneath the people help to tell us a bit more about that person. Perhaps this was for a bag design project?

What would be cool are persona photos that demonstrate key behaviours in some way.

I’m going to have a think about that for my next persona project.


MailChimp have posted a really interesting article that tells the story of how their new personas came to be.

I like their idea of getting large portrait photos of their personas framed and hung in their office. 

In the article Gregg describes the value of this…

“…so we could better empathize with them, and in turn design for and delight them..”

Yet another nice example of how photos can be used effectively within the user centred design process.


I spotted this tweet recently and was interested to see that ASOS were increasing the size of photos to be the same size on their category pages as their product pages.

I think this is indicative of how important the photos are on category pages to allow customers to scan for products they might be interested in.

A blog celebrating photos, the unsung heroes of great user experience design, by James Chudley (@chudders)

My 60 page 'Usability of web photos' ebook is for sale on Amazon for the price of a coffee.

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