When my kids were young, stuff always headed towards the floor. If it happened to be a piece of bread, it always landed buttered side down, so we had the “3 second test”
Story to the kids was that it took the bugs 3 seconds to move from the floor onto their piece of bread, so if we picked it up within the 3 seconds, the bread was OK.
Seemed to work.
These days, the 3 second test applies elsewhere, to websites.
I have watched many people log onto a site, either directly, or via a search list, and it seems that if their attention is not grabbed within 3 seconds, they have not been engaged, they are gone.
This is really no different to skimming a newspaper, remember those?.
A headline, a great photo, and layout made our eye stop, and we spent an extra bit of time absorbing the “gist” and perhaps engaging more deeply in the story, reading the detail, feeling something, and perhaps taking an action.
As a relevant aside, Fairfax chopped 30 photographers last week.
A great photo is an eye stopper, one of the ways that they can be differentiated from the drab piccies done with by amateurs with phones that inhabit websites and social media particularly. Just when it is becoming increasingly obvious that visual is taking over, a medium struggling to stay relevant cuts a key source of relevance.
Use good photos in your communication, particularly on your website. The modest investment will pay you back in spades.