NATHAN ASHBY-KUHLMAN > Blog entries from December 2003

Thumbnails should match photo galleries' first picture

Two Florida news sites I regularly check at work — one a partner, one a competitor — have an annoying way of linking to photo galleries. You click on the thumbnail of one image to enter the gallery, but you often get a different image when the page loads.

For instance, is using this thumbnail of a man holding his Purple Heart medal to link into the site’s daily photo gallery:

A picture of a white-haired old man wearing a suit

But when you click the thumbnail image, you get a picture of Saddam Hussein!

A picture of Saddam Hussein after U.S. troops captured him

Similarly, has a thumbnail of state champion high school football players dousing their coach:

Winning football players dump water on their coach

But the first picture in the photo gallery is of a fumble during the game:

Two opposing football players falling on the grass with a football between them

When readers click on a thumbnail image to enter a photo gallery, they want to see that image — for more detail or to read the caption. Even if the thumbnailed image is just a few clicks of the “next” link ahead in the gallery, readers may be very confused. If you’re building photo galleries, make sure thumbnails match the first gallery image readers will get.

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