A problem with images

The chapter I’m currently working on is about the ways WoW’s races are represented – all of the visual, aural, and narrative elements of their designs, and the real-life influences behind them. I’m trying to take advantage of my digital format a lot here, and include as many images and videos as possible. It’s a lot of fun – and if I can pull it off, it’ll look awesome – but it’s presenting some tough problems. I’m hoping someone out there can give me some advice on ’em.

Basically, I’m organizing the majority of this chapter into profiles of each of WoW’s ten races. Each profile will contain a certain amount of info, arranged under headings. One of these is the architectural style(s) exhibited by the buildings in the main city of each race. (Many thanks to Jeff Hatch for identifying these styles!)

Here’s the architecture entry for the Humans.

Architecture

Stormwind, the Humans’ capital city, is Medieval in style, with some Romanesque elements to the main buildings of interest. It boasts an early-mid gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of Light.

The problem is, I can’t figure out the best way to display this stuff. Here are the options I’ve come up with.

Option 1: an image gallery

Pros:

  • It’s the best-looking option, because it puts images right here in the page.
  • It mitigates against link decay – I would have all of the images saved on my server.
  • WordPress has a built-in function for it that works perfectly (most of the time).

Cons:

  • Ownership of images. The first site I’ve linked to, Greatbuildings.com, states clearly that it owns copyrights to its images. I can link to the profile pages of each style, as I’ve done above, but I can’t link directly to their image files, and I can’t download them and host them myself.

Option 2: hyperlinks (like I’ve already done above)

Pros:

  • Almost universally accepted by owners of web content.
  • Easy to do.
  • Clean-looking.

Cons:

  • Not as pretty as in-text images.
  • Requires more clicks by readers to get to images, if I can’t link to an image file itself (i.e., with Greatbuildings.com links).
  • Susceptible to link decay.

Option 3: some images, some hyperlinks

Pros:

  • I can still use image galleries for the images I have the rights to, and I keep other content owners happy by not using their images in ways they don’t like.

Cons:

  • Because it’s not a consistent way to present images, it runs the risk of looking haphazard/sloppy.

I’m currently thinking that Option 3 is the way to go: it lets me make use of my own screenshots and other legal-to-use images.  I’m running a plugin called Snapshots that shows previews of my links, so at least readers can get a sense of what they’ll see if they click on one. But I’m still not thrilled about the inconsistency in the presentation.

What do you think as a reader? What’s the most attractive, logical way to do all this?

One comment

  1. Bez says:

    I like the 3rd option as well. The in-text picture pop up would be sexy, but you have that problem with ownership. Can you use the picture and just cite where its from in the text? Of course, that would be tedious and annoying. Nothing worse than reading an literary/education article and having to wade through lines and lines of who said what and when and in which edition of the book.

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