If you’ve visited the Bing homepage you know the daily image is one of the biggest things that sets Bing apart. Instead of a sparse screen centered on an empty box, you find a vivid, arresting picture of something that you may never have known even existed. Those images don’t appear by accident. Fast Company posted a nice piece in July about how Stephanie Horstmanshof and her team search for images that will pique visitors’ interest and urge them to find out more about what they see. Schools are known to use it to begin the day in the classroom with a fun, educational element.
I've always thought it must be one of the most fun jobs in Microsoft and after meeting Stephanie I can confirm that is the case - they get to spend time sitting in a room, poring over some of the most beautiful images you've ever seen. Don't be fooled though, it's a tough task (honest) as Stephanie and her team look for images that are not just beautiful but intriguing. The team crafts hotspot text — those pop-up bits of information on the image — that makes those connections and make use of other assets in the Bing household. A stunning landscape suggests links to Bing Maps or Bing Travel; an unusual animal or microbe may lead to Bing News or Bing Images. But it isn’t enough to just push readers to the different Bing tools; the real idea is to give the reader new and surprising information, to inspire curiosity. It helps to capture that serendipity or accidental discovery that people are always claiming has been lost with online tools.
And of course you can’t go wrong with animal pictures...this one is a recent favorite in the Clayton household.
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Do you know why the Bing pictures aren't full screen? They're gorgeous. It would just be so much nicer if they used up the full window's real estate.