Tela has researched the top 50 law firms website image usage, by analysing their home page images and putting them into categories. We have looked at the image style, the colours used, the photo types and whether they are sector-based. Certain patterns and trends have been identified in all these categories. We have displayed the results on charts below.
Categories of photo types
To collate the categories of photo types, we analysed the homepage images to itemise the objects included in them.
The graph above shows that buildings are the most popular images used for law firm websites, with 20 out of 50 law firms including them in their homepage images. The types of buildings shown were mainly impressive city offices, reflecting the professional service that law firms offer. This is also the case with cityscape images, which immediately highlight the location of the law firm.
16 out of 50 law firm sites use abstract images. This approach is open to interpretation and
is more suggestive. Often they may be describing individual cases each lawyer or law firm is working on
Fifteen sites used images with a nature theme. Including country landscapes, earth, woods and plants. Many of these law firms used these images to highlight their expertise in areas such as environmental law, but others used them as a contrast to the office environment. This style of imagery can be seen on Macfarlanes homepage.
Colour templates show the baseline colours that law firms are using in their website images on the homepage.
The most popular colour template used in images by the top 50 law firms is cool tones at 60%. Cool colours convey a sense of safety and calmness, helping the user feel comforted and relaxed.
Law firms want people to feel this way when using their websites as the legal process can be quite stressful and this can help them feel more relaxed and assured. Using a hot red coloured image can inspire quite a different reaction. Some websites use a mixture of cool and warm colours in the same image to help both calm and excite.
32% of the law firms websites use a more subtle, neutral palette in their imagery. Neutral colours connote wholesomeness and reliability, which is important for law firms as they want to be seen as experienced and dependable.
Types of Imagery
We then analysed the types of imagery that has been used on the law firms websites and here are the results we found.
As you can see the most popular type of imagery used is photographic, with 82% of the top 50 law firms websites using photos on their homepage. This isn’t surprising, as images are useful to help visually support the brand message.
The least popular type of imagery used is typographic with only 2%. Law firms prefer images to have a professional and also friendly feel to reassure the user. This isn’t as easy to deliver with typographic imagery as they tell less of a story and are not as visually suggestive.
Illustrative images are able to get a message across to the user, as long a s they use imagery that is relevant to the subject.
The colour scheme of a website is important as it is one of the first visual elements of a website’s brand that is viewed. The colour scheme used can evoke different feelings and emotions, depending on how it is perceived by the viewer of the site.
Tela analysed the colour schemes of the top 50 law firm websites by noting which displayed mono, black and white or full colour based websites images.
Full colour images are the most popular choice of colour scheme for law firm websites. 84% of the sites used full colour compared to only 4% using black and white photos. Colour is more stimulating and eye-catching to the user and potential clients. This helps make their overall user experience more memorable resulting in higher conversion of user to client rates.
Sector specific images are images that refer to the law firm’s specialism. For example, photographs of their office/building, the people who work for the firm or areas of law specialism.
As you can see from the graph above, only a few law firms include sector specific imagery on their website homepage. This is surprising, because law firms tend to prefer professional photos and this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight specialist areas with some great photography. Many of these sites have seperate ‘about us’ pages which focus on sector specific images such as their people and offices. The majority want to focus their homepages on catching the users attention with more interesting images.
Use of Stock Images
Stock images are generic images available to download. The majority of law firms use stock images as their main banner or throughout their homepage.
Our research has identified popular imagery trends the top law firm websites use to enhance their homepage. Images are easier than text for viewers to process and remember so the importance of imagery used in a website is not to be ignored. Including people, places and evocative situations will arouse viewers senses and can promote a message very effectively.
Studies suggest that people make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Up to 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone. – Source
Law firm websites have a high percentage of full colour, photographic images. The majority of websites use non-sector specific stock images on their homepage to grab the users attention before showing more sector specific images throughout their other pages.
Relatable imagery to assist viewers when visiting a site will enhance the user experience and make for a more successful visit.