Good web experiences usually implies one which is intuitive and visually appealing. This implies using visual identifiers in conjunction with texts, reducing the need to read in order to make meaning and navigate the site.
Off-the-shelf Moodle has no way of giving course sites a visual identity. This means that list of sites such as a user would come to when they first login are text-based names.
At Sussex we felt it was important that editors had their ability to give their sites a visual identity, which would be displayed at the top of the page, in all course site lists and in search results. Visual identifiers can help a lot if your trying to scan through a long list of text. It can be quicker for users to instantly spot a familiar image, than a word.
Using the current functionality for adding images to user profiles and course groups we added the functionality for editors to upload images from either the settings page of a site, or the custom built quick editor toolbar (See the Quick editor tool bar post).
Since we put this live in January 2011 62 of the Spring term course sites (approximately 10% of Spring courses with a Moodle site) and a further 29 other sites have added a site image, and we are seeing bold and imaginative choices shown by editors in site images.
We think course images look quite nice, and adds character to sites. Sometimes, even in a VLE, a little bit eye-candy can be a good thing.