Author: Vickie Scanlon
When constructing a website, everyone likes to see and use graphics. But images also bring slow load times. So how can you use images to not only bring aesthetic quality to your site, but also to enhance it for those who venture onto your site?
Avoid Using Large Pictures
If at all possible avoid using large/heavy pictures that delay the uploading of your web page. If you do have large pictures, try using an on-line graphic optimizer tool to reduce the weight of the picture. The graphic optimizer tools can reduce the weight of your picture by more than 50% without any noticeable decrease in quality. If you want to do some experimenting with some of your large graphics but do not want to pay for the experiment, you can find a listing of free graphic optimizer tools by doing a quick search on Google for “graphic optimizers + free”.
If it is appropriate for your site, thumbnails should be used. If done correctly, it can give the visitor a great experience, without frustrating them with long load time of the images.
One quality site that uses reduced weight images is Thumbshots.org. When you click on the Thumbshots link you can see how fast the images load onto your screen. In addition, the images show no noticeable decrease in quality.
And that, is what you want for your own website. Why? You may have satellite or cable connections for your Internet access, but you have to remember that many still have dial up. And let me add further, as other developing countries begin to have access to the Internet – they will be using dial-up in most cases. Translated, be aware of not only the aesthetic look of your site, but also the accessibly of your site to your total online market.
Another extension of the reduced image is the use thumbnails. Thumbnails are clickable miniature versions of a picture. If a user likes the miniature image he/she sees, they can click on the image and view the full-sized picture. This is a great alternative for ecommerce sites – your website can upload quickly, while giving your online customer the option to see a larger view of the picture, if they so wish.
Thumbnail Size and Website Usability
Is the size of the thumbnail important? Granted, you can put any size of thumbnail that you like on your site, but you must remember the recall factor.
The University of Calgary conducted a study on the level of recall of previously visited websites by the size of the thumbnails that were displayed on their site. It showed that thumbshots size of 120 x 90 resulted in the greatest recall because it matched the screen resolution in proportions (640 x 480, 800 x 600, etc) and offered the optimal size in previewing web sites. The 120 x 90 pixels graphic also offered the best size in usability and download time.
Load Time – 8 Seconds Or Less
What if you have large graphics on your site? If you are seeing a long load time when you bring up your own web page, you may want to try to optimize it. Why? Many surveys have been done, that shows if a web page takes more than 8 seconds to load you can expect at least 1/3 of your visitors to click away in search of a competitors’ site.
To conclude, images are great for your site; they give your website/web page color and greater richness. But if the load time is great, expect to lose visitors. You must take the time to design a web page with your visitor and their Internet capabilities in mind. If you have a long load time on some of your web pages, you should consider the options that I discussed above, and you may see an improvement in your click-threw.
About the Author:
Vickie Scanlon – visit her site My Affiliate Place. She has been working on the Internet for 2 years, as an affiliate marketer and an avid researcher – learning and sharing information on all the facets of Internet Marketing. Her site offers how to articles, eBooks, free and “have to purchase” tools, software and computers for marketers.[divider]