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Image Standards in Public Website WordPress

We all want a clean and professional look for the BCIT website. Consistent sizing, placement, and use of images is one factor in achieving this.

Choosing images

Used thoughtfully, images can be a powerful tool in bringing your web page to life. Here are some basic guidelines for choosing impactful images:

Do: reinforce purpose

Images can add interest and illustrate purpose. Choose images that help the user understand the purpose of your page, and reinforce the messages on it.

Do: reflect our brand characteristics

BCIT delivers an education that goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. Wherever appropriate, reflect technical skills, interaction with technology, real-world or hands-on experience, or problem solving in your image choice. Most images should include people, ideally in inspirational work or learning spaces.

Do: showcase BCIT

Where possible, showcase BCIT people and places. Choose images that portray our students, faculty, or staff learning and working on our campuses and in our classrooms, or in real-world work situations. Avoid generic stock photos.

Do: reflect our diversity

In images that include people, reflect the diversity of our student and employee population by aiming for a mix of ethnicities, abilities, age, size, and gender expression, as well as people with diverse religious or cultural attire.

Do: consider mobile users

Up to 50% of visitors to view our site on a mobile device. WordPress is responsive, meaning it will automatically resize and reformat images so that the best size and weight is shown for the screen each website visitor is using. Images with a narrow focus (e.g., close-ups) can be more difficult to crop successfully, especially if they contain people. In Preview, make sure your image works on various devices by resizing your browser window.

Do: be selective

Don’t go overboard with images – text loads quickly, but images add to load time (and videos even more so!). In general, people want to find information quickly and may not wait for graphics to load. People on limited data plans (often, students) also won’t want to waste precious data loading unnecessary images.

Do: be accessible

To meet web accessibility standards, an image must have a text alternative that clearly and meaningfully describes what it contains. This means using alt text to add a visual description of what the image contains. Learn more about adding alt text.

Don’t: use images with text

Don’t use image files as a way of formatting and highlighting text (i.e., all text visible on a page should be entered as text, not an image of text). This is a poor practice that violates accessibility standards. (Instead, learn how to emphasis content the right way.) Don’t use images with text in header banners as in the example below; the title overlay conflicts with any background text, making for poor legibility.

Example of a poor image choice for a banner
This banner uses a poorly chosen image. The text in the background image makes legibility difficult: an accessibility violation.

Formatting images

When you upload an image, WordPress does most of the heavy lifting and will optimize and resize your images so that the best size and weight is shown for the screen each website visitor is using. It’s still a good idea to start with an appropriate size (weight and dimensions) so that our database doesn’t get too big over time. Cropping an image you intend to use as a hero image also allows for more control over the image focus.

You shouldn’t ever need an image larger than 2000 px wide. (This is a good default size and will cover all image-placement options, including the hero banner.) In contrast, never stretch a small photo to fill a larger space. This often introduces blur.

Photo editing tools such as Photoshop make cropping and resizing easy. Photoshop is available through an Adobe Creative Cloud Pro subscription, which is free for all BCIT employees to access. You can also use free online tools such as Pixlr.

Designing with images



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