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Saturday May 14, 2005 5:26 am

Optimize Your Images For The Internet

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Planning,

In this day and age, it is hard for me to imagine that anyone out there would still be connecting to the Internet on anything less than a high-speed connection. The problem there, though, is that if I neglect that fact that there are still many millions connecting at 56k speeds (or slower!) then my web design could end up detracting many of those in my target audience. Bell and whistles are nice in just about every place except the Internet. Online, simple and clean will beat out over-the-top and fancy just about every time. Consider this when you are coming up with a design for your home on the web. Those surfing on low-speed connections will not have the patience or tolerance to sit and wait for your image filled page to load. More than likely they will hit the stop button, and miss out on the content you aim to provide. Be sure to optimize your images so that they enhance your website, rather than detract from it.

One thing you can do if you plan to have a marketplace which shows a bunch of products is to create thumbnails. Thumbnails are about the size of a stamp, and are just a small preview of the larger image. They are low-resolution and can be downloaded quickly. A link beneath it inviting users to click the image for a larger one gives the choice to the reader on whether they would like to wait for that image to load or not. Also, be sure to remove any excess from images before putting them on the web. Cropping is an excellent way to eliminate both physical screen size of an image, as well as the time it will take for it to be downloaded. You will also need to be sure the image fits into your template on multiple browsers. Be sure to test results in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, and Opera - and use a few different resolutions as well. Be sure your image doesn’t break your template or detract from your text.

Users who want to save time may actually disable their web browsers image display function. This means that no matter where they choose to forage on the Internet, no images will be displayed to them. Rather than leave those areas with empty space, you can put in an image description. Just use the description tag, and give a one line description of the image. This way, if the image is not loaded, the viewer will still get the context of what they are supposed to be seeing.

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