The future of online content will include a shift to more images (including video) and less text. That’s what Mashable Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff told the audience at the 2012 Mashable Connect conference earlier this month. In fact, he explained that the shift is already happening. He said:
“All the hot new sites are almost all about images. The image is the story, but how can we be sure our messages are getting through correctly? We can’t. How can images, which alone mean nothing without contextual text, be the next phase of the Internet? Think about it.”
Lance’s point is a good one. He said, “Reading is about comprehending. Images are wide open to interpretation, and people respond instinctively to images. Without context, we have no idea what an image is about.” Therefore, he cautions that content publishers must remember the shift to images shouldn’t mean that text is abandoned.
He also shared some research that shows people respond more to images than text. However, people start to ignore images if they don’t change often. Lance explained, “TV is popular not because the content is great but because it’s a constant changing source of changing images. Big websites know this.”
Therefore, the future of online content might be all about images, but those visual cues must change frequently. Furthermore, those images must be offered in context because leaving them up to interpretation is unlikely to deliver the audience reactions to your content and perceptions of your brand that you want.
What do you think? Have you made images and video a priority in your content publishing strategy yet?