Last year there was a university study done which showed that visitors of websites which used large images were 30% more likely to buy whatever service or product the website was advertising. Just look around the web a bit and you’ll see the Hero Image trend is already well established. We are visual creatures, and we’re more easily moved on an emotional level by images than written words. Nothing surprising there.
The Engaging News Project out of the University of Austin chimed in with a related study of their own regarding the impact of images on websites. The thing I found most interesting was that aside from an increase in page views, study participants had an easier time recalling details of the things they read. It wasn’t a large scale study, but I think the results were interesting enough to make you think twice before going so wordy on the homepage that you’re not engaging your visitors in a way they’re more likely to remember.
For a great write up on the Engaging News Project, check out this article over at Neiman Lab.