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Contact Us: Avatars or Staff Pictures For Business Use On a Site

 6:09 pm on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I often see businesses using stock photo images of a pretty girl with a headset sugegsting you're going to get her on the phone if you make contact through the online or phone service support lines.

Really, nah, it's not going to be her on the phone, of course. I'm not talking about the adult industry, i'm talking about a business with a contact person on their site.

So what should busnesses do in this social world? Should they use real staff photos, avatars, customised cartoon imagery, nothing at all, or stick with the stock photo of that girl we've seen working for hundreds of companies around the globe?



 7:29 pm on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh! Pet peeve!
I'm getting really sick of the "pretty girl wearing headset" stock photo. I see that on a site, and it turns me off so fast.

Pretty girl, sure. Nothing wrong with that.

Wearing headset, fine. If answering your calls is what she does.

Obviously a model taken from a stock photo collection chosen by a web designer with a marketing manager leaning over his shoulder? get lost.

Real staff photos are the way to go - provided the staff is OK with using their likeness. Cartoons or avatars - only if they're fitting with the personality of the site and the image they want to convey.


 9:31 pm on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hehehe, I can get fired up on this one. Whenever I see the pictures of the power model people all lined up in a row with their arms crossed "a la we mean business" poses - I want to throw up. I hit the back button so fast that the page probably didn't have time to register a visit.

Casual pictures of actual staff at their real posts doing their job is easy to spot and it helps gain some respect and trust because it probably in most cases portrays their actual work ethics too.

Most of the work I do for clients is done with cartoon characters. Something light-hearted and fun to take the seriousness out the necessity to work for a living.


 2:09 pm on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

And how about that one with the girl sitting cross-legged in front of the laptop, with arms raised in ecstasy? Like, she's thinking "WOW I'm so excited! An exiled Nigerian politician just offered me 30 million dollars! I'll never have to do another stupid low paying stock photo shoot as long as I live!"

>> I hit the back button so fast that the page probably didn't have time to register a visit.

you know that isn't true, but still, LOL.


 4:08 pm on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

you know that isn't true

I know that you know that I know.

That other one you mentioned too, the girl cross-legged in front of the laptop, I didn't even have to think about it, came right to my mind as soon as I read it.


 5:16 pm on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't know that there's a lot we can do about it, I'm beginning to see the web in three (general) categories: web sites designed for the users, "home grown" web sites by amateurs designed to please only one person and his or her small circle of fans, and these, web sites designed for the client (site owner.) In the words of "'Nando", "it is always better to look good than to feel good." (.sarc.) I deal with these all the time, and can't argue against the fact that the checks are always good.

What should a site owner do? Choose an image or approach that speaks to your users. If everyone else is doing "that," you need to find out what differentiates your site from "them," and choose your imagery accordingly, eliminating "that" from your choices. It's not an easy thing to do, a crystal ball is helpful.


 6:55 pm on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

a crystal ball is helpful

I'll post one in foo in a few minutes -- be alert incrediBill!


 7:06 pm on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Or maybe not. I was going to post a reply to Wyweb's "What gets you going thread" but either it or me is locked :(


 10:48 pm on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have used the headset ones myself, not the cross legs though. I also have the one of the 'Sports Winner' arms raised bursting through the finish line and a few others...They are so tacky!

These types of stock are to support very specific calls to action (phone us now, sign up and be a winner) , for defined demographic, they work very well at that.

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