Eye tracking research shows visitors look at faces before anything else on a web page.
Why is that ?
People are Drawn to Faces
Professor Catherine Mondloch, of the Face Perception Lab, showed in 1999 how newborns less than hour old, prefer looking at something with facial features.
Required to pick up on emotions or threats, part of our brain (FFA) is dedicated to recognising faces.
In Sabiner Ider of usabilla.com article she writes, “When we see a face, we are automatically triggered to feel something or to empathise with that person. If we recognise content on a website — such as a problem, dilemma, habit or whatever else — we feel connected and understood.”
Use Images of People with Purpose
Above all, an image needs to have a purpose. Purely decorative images have no value. Referred to in Usability as a ‘hot potato‘ visitors will ignore it. If an image doesn’t provide information or reinforce an article’s overall message, get rid of it!
In 2017, eye tracking research by Neilson Norman Group was carried out. It found, especially if the first image had limited information, visitors tended to skip the remaining images. One content-related image per article may suffice. Be brave. Use white space to grab attention.