Basic Image Rules
Use High-Quality Images
This means images are appropriately sized, well-composed, well-lit, and free of pixelation. Choose to have no image over a grainy image.
Use Relevant Images
Use images that make sense in the context of your content. You should be able to answer the question, "Why did you choose that image and not a different one?" The answer shouldn't be, "Because I love puppies!" Again, choose to have no image over an image that doesn't relate.
Use Images That Feature People
About two-thirds of the images on the website should have people in them. The other third can be of nature, buildings, or classrooms, as long as the image relates to the content.
Images should reflect the diversity of interests, activities, and population of our community. Images should vary in place and subject matter. Make sure the images you use reflect diversity in gender, race and ethnic background, age, physical ability, and general appearance.
Whenever possible, use candid images that invite viewers to be part of the community. Strive to use images of actual people on campus, especially students, before stock photos.
We want all of our images to uphold our authenticity. If you must use stock images, contact your public information office. They can help you find photos that aren't too staged or stylized.
Images should not be the only method of communication, because images may not load or may not be seen. Avoid using images when the same information could be communicated in writing.
All images placed on a page must include alternative text ("alt text") that describes the content or purpose of the image.
Consider the experience of visually impaired people who are navigating the page using software that vocalizes the content to them:
- If the image is used as a header, then provide alt text that repeats the site or page section name. Alt text (which is required unless an image is purely decorative) is not to be confused with other image attributes such as title, caption, or description, which are all optional.
- If the image is a photograph, then describe the subject of the photograph in alt text.
- If the image contains text, then the alt text should include that text.
- If the image links to a web page, then state the topic of that page in the alt text.
- If the image contains data (such as a chart or graph), then ensure that data is also written in the alt text.
- If the image is serving a specific function, then describe what's inside the image in detail. People who don't see the image should come away with the same information as if they had seen the image.
Keep in mind that images should never contain text that is critical to the user's understanding of the content. Try to avoid using images of text whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is not to have any text on your page that can't be copied or searched for.
The alternative text will help screen reader users understand the concept, but other user groups do not benefit from alternative text.
Dyslexic users who use different tools for reading aloud than visually impaired users will not be able to access either the text in the image or the alternative text with the kind of assistive technologies they use.
Users with low vision who use magnification programs to enlarge elements on the page can experience the image becoming pixelated and more difficult to read when enlarged.
Each browser handles alt text differently. Supplement images with standard captions when possible.
Graphics, Icons, and Clip-Art
Icons and infographics are used strategically throughout the site. Before using graphics or icons, please contact your public information office. Do not use clip-art.
Do not use images you don't have permission to use. If you can't find an image in the existing image library or approved stock photo repository, contact your public information office. Don't just use an image from a Google search and hope for the best.
People Under 18
We cannot use photos of people under 18 years of age without signed parent consent. Before you take pictures of students or employees to use on the website, contact your public information office to obtain the proper photo/video release forms.
Examples of Proper Image Use
Choose a Candid-Looking Stock Photo
The first image looks like a real, candid shot, while the second image looks like a staged stock photo.
Use This Image
Not This Image
Choose Well-Lit Photos
The first image is well-lit; the second image is too dark.
Use This Image
Not This Image
Choose High-Quality Photos
The second image is low quality. If you have to choose between having a low-quality image or no image, then choose no image.
Guidelines When Providing Images to the Web Team
If you are providing images to our graphic design and web team for use in print materials or on the website or social media, then please adhere to the following guidelines.
Consider the following when determining file size:
- Images should be full color and at least 1 MB (1,000 KB) in size to produce good results. Larger is better! Our team will modify and export images appropriately, depending on the final destination (for example, print vs. web).
- Images that are 500 to 1,000 KB can sometimes be used with decent results, depending on the final destination (for example, print vs. web).
- Images that are less than 100 KB almost never produce good results.
Images from Mobile Phones
When sending images from a mobile phone:
- Email the image from your phone's camera roll instead of texting it. Texting often forces the image into a lower resolution.
- If your phone offers a choice of file sizes (low, medium, high, or actual size), then choose "actual size."
Images from a Computer
When sending an image file from a computer, attach the original images (for photos, this is usually a JPG file) to an email. Do not place the image into a Word document and send us the Word file.
When taking your own headshot:
- Ask another person to hold the camera and take your photo from a few feet away.
- Use the flash, even if in daylight or a brightly lit room.
Don't Do This
- Do not use the built-in camera on your laptop or desktop computer. The short distance will produce unflattering results.
- Do not stand in front of a bright window or doorway. The light will make a silhouette.
- Do not crop the photo. Our team will crop it to the size needed.