How to choose the best images for online training
Photographic images are powerful storytellers. They’re the visual representations of ideas that set a certain tone. When used thoughtfully, images can pique people’s interests by provoking an emotional response—curiosity, excitement, fear, even a sense of urgency.
The power of images to captivate and communicate makes them an important and compelling part of online training. The images you use to represent your ideas will convey your course’s tone. They’ll also help determine whether you grab and keep a learner’s attention.
But how do you go about finding and choosing the “right” images for your online training? What makes one image better than another?
We’re going to answer those questions and more in this article, which offers some pro tips for finding and choosing the best images for your online training!
Start with smarter searching
The best images convey a feeling or idea in a broader sense—rather than simply connecting to a specific subject. These kinds of images are evocative and convey an emotion. To find an image that suggests a tone or a feeling, instead of providing a literal depiction of a concept, it’s a good idea to use various search terms.
For example, if you’re trying to locate an image of someone grappling with age discrimination in the workplace, try using different keywords that evoke the feelings of frustration and isolation a person in that situation would likely have. This search technique leads to broader image results and can help you avoid stereotypical depictions.
If you’re using the online training system Rise, searching for images is easy thanks to the millions of images built right into the system. Integrated image searching saves you time. It also helps you focus on finding the right image for your training topic—instead of worrying about scouring the web and downloading a virus-laden image from a sketchy website.
Rise also eliminates the heartbreak of finding a perfect image—only to discover that you can’t legally use it in your training. With Rise, all the images are beautiful, high-resolution, and 100% royalty-free.
Review your images with a critical eye
Once you have a bunch of image search results, it’s time to determine which image is the right one to use. For online training, there are two key elements to pay attention to when choosing the best image for your project: balance and representation. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Balance refers to the characteristics of an image that make it pleasant to look at. This compositional element can be achieved with symmetry or asymmetry, proportion, color, texture, depth, scale, and line.
When you’re assessing balance in an image, here are three tips to keep in mind:
- Choose images in the same color palette. Create a more professional look and feel by choosing images that share a similar color palette. A lot of graphic design pros find an inspiration image for their topic and use a color-picking app (or browser extension) like Eye Dropper to select a color from the image they can use as an accent color throughout their course.
- Focus on the play of light and dark in images. Images that are too bold and colorful can be distracting—not exactly what you want for online training. On the other hand, images without enough color can make your online training look bland or even depressing. How do you strike the right balance?
Here’s a tip: Instead of focusing solely on the image’s color palette, zero in on the balance between light and dark in the image. For example, choosing a colorful subject against a neutral background, as you see below, is a good way to bring in color without making the image the star of the show.
- Avoid images with too many details. Successful online training helps learners focus on what’s most important. That means avoiding busy images that don’t support your training topic.
As you scan your image results, weed out overly detailed images or those with too many colors. Instead, focus on images with clear, compelling messages and minimal distraction.
In addition to helping learners focus, successful online training also directs and keeps the learner’s attention. One way to keep someone’s attention is to choose images of people who are authentically relatable. Representation—particularly when it comes to training—matters to learners.
Here are some pro tips to keep in mind when evaluating images for representation:
- Compensate for the bias present in most image search results. White, able-bodied, attractive people tend to be overrepresented in stock images. To circumvent this bias, try refining your search by choosing race-specific identifiers such as “Black businesswoman” instead of “shop owner” when searching for a female entrepreneur, for instance.
- Look for images that depict the full spectrum of diversity. When you’re thinking about representation, it’s easy to get hung up on race or ethnicity only. But the full spectrum of diversity is much broader. Make a point to scan image results for people with different body types, gender identities, ages, and abilities. Also, look for images that depict people who defy gender stereotypes, such as female truck drivers or male nurses.
- Consider historical context. Unfortunately, the popular media’s portrayal of underrepresented groups leans heavily on stereotypes. While underrepresentation varies from place to place, building your awareness and understanding of historically stereotyped depictions can help you avoid perpetuating them in your training.
The right imagery makes your training look beautiful, credible, and professional—and helps to support and inspire your learners. To find the best images for your online training, make sure you’re:
- Using keywords that broadly evoke the feeling you’re going for, rather than a literal depiction of concepts.
- Choosing images that are focused and well-balanced, both in color and contrast.
- Keeping representation in mind, so your online training feels authentic and relatable to your audience.
By putting these pro tips into action, you’ll be creating online training that looks like a graphic design pro created it—and feels like it’s speaking directly to your learners.
Rise makes online training easy to create, enjoyable to take, and simple to manage. Start your free, 30-day trial to see why it’s the online training system employees love. For more information, visit rise.com.