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Static vs. Fluid Imagery

As web design has increasingly come to embrace more complex design elements, one choice that has been opened to designers has been the decision whether or not to include fluid, or moving, imagery. Fluid imagery can come off as either compelling or distracting, so the choice isn’t simply one of aesthetic preference, but rather requires careful thought in relation to what purpose the imagery serves and how it fits in with the overall design goals.

Two different websites can show some of the benefits and drawbacks of fluid imagery. The first, www.usda.gov, features a slideshow of images and attached captions linking to various articles and pages the agency is trying to highlight. The benefit of this approach is that it creates an appearance of interactivity with the site, and helps to encourage greater focus and participation on the part of visitors. However, it also can be distracting for site visitors, particularly as the slideshow moves slightly faster than many visitors may be able to read the captions.

A better approach is that taken by www.leeheylaw.com, which similarly features a fluid slideshow of images on the home screen. However, these images are unattached to any other content, and are only for aesthetic purposes, which renders them less distracting. In addition, the fluidity is not cyclical; that is, there is a progression of three separate images, the last of which is then rendered as the homepage’s static image. This is an interesting take on fluid imagery, and one which helpfully balances its benefits and drawbacks.

2 Responses to “Static vs. Fluid Imagery”

  1. Tiffany J. says:

    Well, this is an interesting discussion. I’ll need to do my homework on this stuff to keep up. Thanks for the post!

    slater pugh llp

  2. Interesting take. I would think that fluid imagery is inherently more interesting, but if done wrong, I can see downsides.

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