Have you noticed how televisions, computer monitors, even smart phone screens have continued to grow larger over the years? The reason behind it is simple. We’re a visual society. More and more, we are influenced by large imagery whether it is moving or still.
As director of web services for Southern Miss Gulf Coast, I encourage everyone who has input on our web presence to carry a camera or a photography-enabled smart phone with them at all times. You never know when a photo opportunity may happen in front of you. And SEEING something is so much more engaging than hearing someone describe it, isn’t it? That’s the whole point.
One of our geography students snapped away during one of Dr. David Holt’s classes in a recent mini-session. He posted the pictures on his Facebook page and suddenly the project the class was engaged in came to life. Rather than saying “this is how we took core samples from trees” and describing the process, the student held a core in his palm and snapped a well-composed image of it and captioned it, “what the inside of a tree looks like.” Because a picture is worth a thousand words (or more), why spend the thousand words?
I encourage everyone to take more photos of what they do every day. You’d be amazed at the uses you will find for them. We are working to put more photo galleries on the Southern Miss Gulf Coast website. You’ll notice very useful links on our site when you want to describe specific events or time periods we’ve all lived through. Approaching eight years post-Katrina, how do we tell people in words what we faced and have since overcome? Well, for starters, go to our “Before and After” gallery online: http://www.usm.edu/gulfcoast/about-southern-miss-gulf-coast/gallery/coming-back-katrina.
Research with first-time college students show that most prefer well-chosen visuals on the university website primarily to act as a portal into that particular institution. (Sung and Yang 2008) They want to see if they can mentally project themselves into our world. Contact University Communications if you need advice on visuals.
Judy Day Isbell
Director of Web Services