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Best Practice

Designing Thumbnails

Website thumbnails serve several purposes, by using a logo or other recognisable imagery, a website thumbnail can help to strengthen your brand. A website thumbnail can facilitate user navigation and usability by making it simpler for users to identify a website, especially when it’s included in a list of bookmarks or tabs.

Thumbnails are used on varies parts of the website including the favican in bookmarked tabs shown below or often used on archive pages to help users select the content or service they are interested in.

It’s important to be visually appealing when a website is displaying a list of services or content titles. A website can gain credibility and confidence by using well designed and consistent thumbnails.

Website logo thumbnails (also known as Favicons) are typically square and are typically small, usually around 16×16 pixels, although some systems can use larger sizes. They should be saved as either a GIF, PNG or ICO file, with ICO format being recommended for maximum compatibility.

Here are some tips for creating effective website thumbnails:

  • Keep it simple: The thumbnail should be a simple, recognisable image that is easy to understand at a small size. A logo or icon is often the best choice for a thumbnail.
  • Use consistent branding: The thumbnail should match the branding of your website, using the same colors and imagery. This will help users to recognise your website and build trust.
  • Use a transparent background: Website thumbnails are usually displayed on different coloured backgrounds, so it’s important to use a transparent background in the image file. This will ensure that the thumbnail looks good no matter where it’s displayed.
  • Test different file formats: Some browsers support certain file types better than others. ICO format is recommended for maximum compatibility. Also, try testing and comparing with gif and png, which are also common formats.
  • Don’t forget the touch devices: With more and more users accessing websites from mobile devices, it’s important to create a high-resolution version of the thumbnail that looks good on high-DPI (dots per inch) displays, such as those found on newer smartphones and tablets.

Keep in mind that website thumbnails are a small but important part of the overall UX (user experience). They can help users quickly identify and navigate to your website, reinforcing branding and trust. By following these tips, you can create a website thumbnail that is effective, recognisable and visually appealing.

Some extra benefits for a well designed Thumbnail:

SEO impact
Website thumbnails are not directly related to search engine optimisation (SEO), but they can play a small role in helping to improve the UX, which can be an indirect factor for SEO, especially for Google E.E.A.T expectations.

User Experience
A visually appealing website thumbnails can make a website stand out in search engine results, making it more likely that users will click through to the site. This can lead to higher click-through rates (CTR) and ultimately better engagement, which can be a signal for search engines that your website is relevant and valuable.

Navigation
Well-designed website thumbnails can make it easier for users to recognise and navigate to a website, especially in a list of bookmarks or tabs. This can improve the overall user experience, which can lead to higher engagement and time on site.