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Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound
Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound

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1.4 Images

1.4.1 The role of images

We can use images in several ways.

  • To motivate, to attract the attention of the user, to amuse and to persuade. These uses are particularly important in advertising and marketing.

  • To communicate information. This is often exploited in computer-based learning materials.

  • To help overcome language barriers. This approach is widely used in instruction manuals for consumer items.

  • To support interaction. For example, screen metaphors and icons.

In this section we concentrate on communicating information.

Activity 3

Flick through a newspaper or magazine (perhaps online) and choose four images. Why has each of these images been used? What does the image achieve? What information does it provide you with?


When I looked through a newspaper, I found the following images.

  • A photograph of a man being taken into court. This drew my attention and made the event seem more tangible. It provided me with information about the appearance of the suspect and the process of being taken into court.

  • A diagram of how a bank robbery was carried out. This provided detailed information about the layout of the bank and the sequence of events. This added clarity to the textual description.

  • A series of drawings of clock faces, supporting the explanation of a sequence of events during a day in the stock market. This clarified the explanation.

  • A graph in the business section illustrated the highs and lows of the FTSE index.