Web tableaus — photographed scenes of work environments — are a popular web design trend right now.
I came across the term from Frank Chimero’s blog post about the subject, and it was the first time I’ve seen the web tableau trend analyzed.
I thought I’d put together a showcase of websites that use web tableaus for you.
Examples of Web Tableaus
Here are a few sites that use web tableaus:
The Prince Ink Company
The Brand Bat
Eva Black Design
Olly Sorsby Design Co.
Why Use Web Tableaus?
Every single thing a web designer does should be meaningful. Design decisions must meet an objective besides achieving great aesthetics.
Here are a couple of reasons for using web tableaus in your designs:
To Show How Your Product Works
When we initially stumble upon a new digital product (like a mobile app) that we’ve never seen before, it’s hard to envision how it could possibly work for us and how it could fit into our lives.
And for developers of digital products, it’s extremely challenging to explain how useful their product is when people can’t touch it or immediately experience its benefits.
Web tableaus are practical visuals for demonstrating a product’s utility.
For example, let’s look at Wallmob’s web tableau.
Wallmob is a networked point-of-sale application. That’s not very sexy, is it? And how does it work?
The scene of a person holding a mobile tablet with the Wallmob app up on the device’s screen is a very informative visual.
It gives potential users of the software an idea of what Wallmob can provide them: A portable point-of-sale system that has a user-friendly interface that runs on existing touchscreen mobile devices. No more dedicated and extremely expensive POS systems.
The picture is truly worth a thousand words. With just one photo, Wallmob is able to communicate the pain point the company is trying to solve.
To Keep It Real
By giving people a sneak peek of the place in which we craft our work, we’re able to humanize and add value to our products.
A good discussion point for this is Wootten — a company that creates handmade shoes and other leather products.
If you’re not familiar with the brand, just by looking at their merchandise, you wouldn’t be able to know or appreciate that real people painstakingly make all Wootten products.
But handcrafted, customized apparel is what makes Wootten different from the big, incumbent fashion brands that get their products mass-manufactured in some undisclosed factory.
How can Wootten articulate their uniqueness to their buyers?
Through a web tableau.
In the tableau, we see a craftsman with manual tools laboring on a workbench and the beginnings of a Wootten item.
This one scene was able to tell the brand’s entire story, and viewers end up having a better appreciation of the company’s products.
On his web tableaus post, Frank Chimero shares his thoughts on what web tableaus bring to the table — you should definitely read his post for more insights into this trend.
What do you think of web tableaus? What are other reasons for using them in web designs?