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Images for the Web, August 2003

I've talked a lot about the need for speed. Specifically, the importance of your web pages loading quickly. Images are the number one culprit. Like a vampire, they are seductive and at the same time suck the life out of your site. (By the way, since this article deals with images, I will be using some as examples and this will cause the pages to take a while to load.) Everyone wants to use images. They can be interesting and give your website some style. Also, if you're selling something on-line, the prospective customer likes to have a look at what they are buying. Imagine the old Sears catalog without any pictures, just descriptions. Pull out the Yellow Pages and notice how the ads with pictures grab your attention first. So, we could have a page load lightening fast without any images, but that would be very boring. Yes, we need speed, but unless we're simply looking for information, we want a picture or two.

Remember the old Chinese saying, "One picture is worth a thousand words"? Unfortunately, some pictures take longer than ten thousand words to load. Much of the time the problem is the images were not properly prepared for use on the internet. Images are usually in a GIF or JPEG format. Continued>>>