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The visual web – pics or GTFO

A picture tells a thousand words, and the way we browse the interwebs is changing accordingly. Let's just hope some sites don't get left behind...

The times they are a-changin’. The future of the web is a visual one, and it’s almost impossible to turn a corner online without bumping into picture-driven change. Pinterest, Instagram and Vine have already demonstrated our love for pictures, and the animated gif has thoroughly nestled its way into our hearts, offering many a looped distraction on dull grey afternoons.

The HTC One and its Zoe feature (which takes bite-sized video snippets with each photo) is also part of the visual revolution. Online heavy hitters have sniffed at these winds of change too, and have begun to do something about it.

Take Facebook’s recent News Feed update for example. Pictures and videos are blown up and take up large chunks of the page. It’s visually much more appealing and less cluttered, and a general improvement which our screen-weathered eyes are thankful for.

Bing has also recently upgraded its image search page to keep up with Google Image search’s evolution. You can now navigate through images with your keyboard for instant gratification and a new fullscreen mode is one button click away for instant immersion.

But others appear to be remaining stagnant, which could be dangerous. Twitter and Reddit, two online giants, are still very much text-centric. Instagram shots haven’t been available on Twitter for a good few months now and viewing photos can be a fragmented experience.

And as for Reddit? Well, its design is stuck in the 90s, with a homepage rammed with link after link in a big long list. Hardly the sexiest experience we think you’ll agree. Given that so many of Reddit posts are images, we’re sure a lot more could be done to make the site easier on the eyes.

Here’s to hoping that the likes of Reddit and Twitter evolve to keep up with the pack, until the next evolution – scratch and sniff websites. You heard it here first.

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home

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