Have you ever seen a menu with washed out, faded pictures of food that probably wouldn’t look all that good no matter how accomplished the photography was? Did it really make you want to eat at that particular restaurant? I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve never been a particularly visual person. Words, text and the like tend to make a greater impression on me than pictures. But when it comes to tea, I find visuals to be a key component of the overall experience. Many tea lovers will agree that the sensory experience of tea drinking is one that relies on more than just the sense of taste. Which is why I always bring sight into the mix by only drinking tea from a clear glass cup. It’s also why I feel the quality of an online tea merchant’s photos to be one of the most important aspects of the site.
I found a great example of this recently, at the site of a merchant who shall remain nameless (given that they’re competitors of the good people who sponsor this site). As with so many tea sites, their offerings are separated by the major types of tea – black, green, oolong and so on. Go to the page for one of these types of tea and you’re presented with large, attractive and very high-quality photos of their tea. Which contribute to making the tea more appealing as a potential purchase and also gives a better idea of exactly what you’re getting. After all, all Assam/Yunnan/Darjeeling/whatever tea is not created equal.
But while pictures are key, it’s also helpful to have captions with the pictures so that you can tell exactly what you’re looking at. Yes, you can make a pretty good guess, especially if it’s a tea like Dragonwell that has a very distinctive appearance, but captions are a key component even so. Not that this is a given, by the way. I’ve run across several sites – which is several more than I expected – that display a page of photos of their wares without captions.
So even if some of those old cliché phrases tend to be a bit shopworn after you’ve heard them enough, it might be worth recalling the one about pictures being worth a thousand words.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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