I noticed a question today that had a large image that, in my mind, was effectively a rant:

enter image description here

It seems like images like this add no value to the question itself, but I'm curious what the rest of the community thinks about these kind of emotive illustrations in the body of questions.


Aside from dramatic effect (and horrible JPEG artifacts) all you get out of that image is the recognizable image of the red X. Everything else is fluff, it's basically an image of text. Images of text belong on Reddit, elsewhere they generally only serve to reduce accessibility and increase download sizes.

I'm generally quite opposed to images used for purely sake of drawing attention or making a joke; images should be used to express things that can't (easily) be conveyed through simple words, like showing a visual layout or chart.

Also yeah I already edited the example in the question out, but don't take that as a doorslam to this conversation

  • Totally cool, I was more interested in the meta-commentary anyway. I agree that it doesn't have a place, so the edit is appropriate in my opinion. Apr 25 '13 at 21:05
  • I was wondering about the image being removed from that question, and I didn't even think about the fact that it impeded the accessibility. Good edit. +1
    – elemjay19
    Apr 25 '13 at 21:42
  • There's an entire field of study devoted to using text effectively as a visual medium. Dismissing an image of text because you'd prefer an image to represent ideas that can't easily be conveyed through words is discounting the effect of layout, design and typography (and ignoring the real-world restrictions on sharing expressive text over the internet). Apr 26 '13 at 7:24
  • Using typography in this example, the emphasis is on the wrong words. "Skype" "Means" and "Close", along with the X are the message/figure. Everything else should be ground. That would contain a message - using text - that isn't otherwise present. Apr 26 '13 at 7:27
  • @DavidClarke pretty minor "message", it could be included using bold or italics as a text quote...but IMO it's totally unnecessary. The emphasis only changes the volume, not the intent, of the message
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 26 '13 at 13:46
  • @Ben Brocka: I don't think typography has a minor "message". In this situation? Yes - but the overall message is weak. Typing all that in comic sans would have a different impact than typing it in gotham - and using an image to display a font (to represent ideas) isn't a bad idea. Arguably, otf/ttf/pfm files are just another container for a graphic - look at all the glyph fonts, for example. As for typography as an art form, it's been around formally for a long longer than UX. Apr 27 '13 at 4:56
  • Typography is an incredibly effective way to draw attention to an idea. The modern web doesn't (really) support .otf in any meaningful way (and webfonts are still coming along), so .jpgs are used instead. HOWEVER ... there are a lot of people who think putting fancy fonts on a page is art. And it is art - it's just terribly lazy and tasteless art. Apr 27 '13 at 4:57
  • @DavidClarke I'll admit typography is neat but it's completely unnecessary, distracting and unprofessional in this situation to use anything other than plain text and markdown. There is absolutely nothing relevant lost.
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 27 '13 at 15:23
  • Good typography is like good UX. It fits the situation. You only notice (and object to) bad typography. Look at the following examples and imagine they're all written in monospaced consolas (they wouldn't look as nice): pinterest.com/katieanfindsen/good-typography-is-invisible What you're arguing against isn't typography, you're arguing against BAD typography. Apr 27 '13 at 16:04

Seems like your title is wrong, since the question discuss the use of images in questions not rants in particular.

Apart from that I think you have a good point. Images, good or bad, should be used to enforce a message, and humerous ones can make it easier to understand the content of a post (question or answer). That's why I engourage the use of images, and use some myself to make my message stronger. Like my answer to the question: Forcing users to use a particular pattern for passwords


A closed window is the same as a minimized one.

So, besides the mismatch between the words and the message, I don't think that qualifies as a rant. That's a soundbite, a short thought, an angry comment (also, it's wrong)

A rant is a longer argument against a topic, that expresses emotion and fact in a way that is strong and sometimes overbearing ... but not incorrect (It's not necessarily correct either - but it is a fact supported opinion).

Rick Mercer does a great example of a rant.

  • Your argument falls apart in the first sentence - a closed window IS NOT the same as a minimized one. May 8 '13 at 17:43
  • Sure, the technical definition is different. But to the user? Not so much. Besides, being wrong on one point doesn't invalidate my entire argument. That logical fallacy has a name ... somewhere ... May 8 '13 at 23:54

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