10Best in big redesign -- do photos make a difference?NewsBy Dennis Schaal | December 5, 2011Share This article was originally published on NileGuide-owned 10Best unveiled a site redesign, increasing photo sizes by 70%, the company says.You've heard of Big Data. Welcome to the world of Big Photo.The redesign is huge -- with travel destination images dominating the page before you scroll down for more information. Take a look at the following 10Best New Orleans image, which is part of a slideshow:In contrast, here's a 10Best travel destinations page prior to the redesign:Note the before and after treatment of images, with the redesign bringing large images and slideshows to the fore."We set ourselves on a mission to radically improve our engagement on 10Best.com, says Josh Steinitz, CEO of parent company NileGuide. "We employed rigorous user testing and relied on our network of top-tier editors from around the world to produce what is truly a new and category-leading site experience."Steinitz says that the user testing showed that consumers "overwhelmingly" prefer "larger and better photos and that in a list of 10 recommendations, they almost always prefer clicking on those points of interest that have photos."Whether the redesign will make 10Best, which commerces in travel recommendations, "category-leading" in any way remains to be seen, of course.But, it is clear that many travel sites -- and others, too -- are newly emphasizing imagery and photo-led search.Hotel review and transaction site Oyster.com has implemented photo-led search as an alternative to traditional text-based search and Bing has been dabbling in photo-oriented destination search, as well, for example.The jury may be still out on how effective this tack really is.The same can be said for video -- a hot commodity -- but does it really drive engagement? Reviews have been mixed.Podcasts? Has that ship sailed?In addition to the super-sized images, 10Best's redesign incorporated some other tweaks.Users now have more options to filter "Best of" lists, for example, the company says, and there has been an infusion of new destination content.NileGuide itself and sister company Localyte use the popular question and answer format for travel advice and Steinitz says 10Best will get similar treatment in the first half of 2012.