I don't why, but these days no matter what site you surf on, there's always a picture of someone doing something. Most of the time the picture doesn't even come close to describing what the page is pitching.
For example, take a look at the image just above. It's a picture of two women having pizza outdoors. They seem to be having a good time, laughing it up and enjoying each other's company. I saw this today on the login page of Yahoo mail. Okay, I see Yahoo mail is pitching its address book as an alternative to remembering emails. I'm sure it's a great service, but what exactly is the role of this picture there?
Is it supposed to remind me of the great times I had with old friends so I would quickly add them to my address book, lest I forget their email addresses? Is it supposed to engender a happy feeling to encourage me to use Yahoo mail more often? I suppose in the end, it's just trying to get my attention and add a little décor to the page much like a painting on a bare wall.
Not that I mind these pictures. You see them on many sites these days. Bank, phone company, software outfit, tax preparation, and insurance company sites have them. They generally depict people in happy, relaxed, joyful, or content situations. I suppose if happiness and contentment is what everybody is looking for, these picture could create powerful subconscious connections between individuals and the companies displaying them. It makes me wonder how many times I've decided to do business with a company based on a seemingly random happy picture.