Thumbnails are like movie trailers. If they are not interesting and appealing to the users they will not drive audiences to the theater; without which it will fail to become a blockbuster! The trick with thumbnails is to make them attractive to entice users to view your cards. However in doing so, it must provide a true picture of the ecard and not mislead users. There’s nothing worse than misleading users to believe that it is an action flick while it only has one action scene in the entire movie.
Below is an example of Ashu Patodia’s Rosh Hashanah ecard and its thumb. The thumb represents exactly what the card contains and is further beautified by the animated text.
Thumbnails set users’ expectations. If that is not met, then you cannot win users’ loyalty. Thumbnails should indicate the quality of the card and give a sneak peek to what the card contains. They must make users believe that they will enjoy the ecard viewing experience. Hence it must contain the same content such as images, colors and background that are used in the main card. You may select any image that you have used in the card but do not add an extra image in the thumbnail if it is not included in the card as this misleads users.
If you don’t have multiple frames in a card you can create a mini version of it and use as thumbnail. However if you have a text heavy card, choose the images for the thumbnail with minimal text on it. Owing to the size of the thumbnail, the text usually becomes illegible. If you have a flash card with multiple frames it is best to use the most attractive and aesthetically appealing part of the card as the thumbnail. Including minimal text with key messages such as ‘Happy New Year’, ‘I love You’, etc. works well in thumbnails. Animated thumbnails (GIFs) usually do well but they should not be overpowering in look.
Many of our visualizers have experienced a significant improve in the performance of their cards by changing or modifying their card thumbs. Thus it is important to spend time and thought in creating them. Your ecards may be wonderful but will only receive appreciation if users are excited to see what it holds and this can only be captured by an attractive thumbnail!