Some web gurus suggest that graphics in a website is anything that is not text. That includes graphics, flash, video and such. Here is what to do and what not to do:
Avoid large or excessive graphics on your web page. One major factor that must be considered when thinking about graphics is that not all users have the same high-speed connections. A slow loading web page does not convey professionalism.
When it comes to graphics on a website the expression "Less is More" holds true. Large or excessive graphics inhibit the users ability to view your site quickly, which may cause them to leave prematurely.
There are two ways to avoid this scenario:
- Limit the number of graphics used on your site. If it's not crucial to the overall design, remove it.
- Ensure that your graphics are saved in the proper format.
Having said that, on the other hand, graphics should lend description to your website. A well designed header graphic tells customers a lot about your website. With graphics, you want to create an original memory in the mind of your potential customer. A picture is worth a thousand words but it should be in accordance with the content of the site.
General rule of thumb:
If a graphic has large areas of a single color, use the GIF format.
If a graphic is a photographic image with many color variations, use the JPEG format.
When using the GIF format, keep your color pallet as small as possible in order to ensure the smallest file size. For JPEG, use between 60% - 80% compression quality. Never use the full 100% quality, as the file size will become excessively large.
When possible save your graphics as GIF files rather than JPEG. Also, reduce your graphics in actual size as much as you can without distorting the graphic or picture. Here is a free download for picture sizing.
In a Nutshell
It's always a good idea to save the original version of a file separately.
Use JPG for files with lots of colors, use GIF for files with fewer colors.
Use the lowest image quality setting you can get away with.
When altering the compression setting, the change may not be apparent until you open the file next time.
Be careful about making consecutive changes to a file. For example, do not reduce then enlarge an image - use undo instead.
Some of the more commonly used formats that graphics designers use:
Windows & OS/2 (remember?) Bitmaps
Graphics Interchange Format
Joint Photographic Expert Group
Portable Network Graphics
Tag Image File Format
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