Fix My Website: Practical Graphics

Dec 2 22:00 2001 Stefene Russell Print This Article

Despite my lousy ... I'm a ... visual person. When Idink around with the site I co-edit with my friend Mary, I ... stacks of photos and pictures from old ... and usethem libe

Despite my lousy eyesight,Guest Posting I'm a hopelessly visual person. When I
dink around with the site I co-edit with my friend Mary, I scan
large stacks of photos and pictures from old pamphlets, and use
them liberally. I admit it: I'm a graphics abuser, though
sometimes I can't help myself.

This week, I stumbled on two separate articles (one online, one
in print) that reminded me lots of people turn off graphics when
they surf. I was humbled, and thought about going home to boot
some of those images off our site (I'll get back to you on that
one). The point is this: if you're aiming to get your site in
front of as many eyes as possible, you need to build your site as
if everyone on the planet was still pulling up pages with a pokey
24k modem-or a Palm Pilot, for that matter.

*If they can't see it-tell them what it is. You've probably run
your mouse over an image (perhaps you could see it, perhaps it
did not load) to see a yellow window pop up, with a descriptive
phrase inside, e.g., "Stuffed Quetl Bird, circa 1917." If they
can't see the pictures, tell them what's there. You can do this
by adding a scrap of code into your image tag: alt="Stuffed Quetl
Bird, circa 1917"

and insert it so:
Stuffed Quetl Bird, circa 1917border="0" align="right">
If you don't like to mess with HTML code, go to the help files
for your particular HTML editor and see how to insert this
*Text Links. Those who cannot see your links cannot navigate
your pages (or at the very least, they'll have a heck of a time).
Search engines won't be able to detect a title or a phrase if
it's inside a GIF - after all, it's not a word, it's a picture of
a word. You don't have to do away with your cool buttons
entirely, but be sure to add text links at the bottom of the
page. This is usually a good idea anyway, images or no; orienting
your user at every turn assures that they won't get lost.

*10,000 Calorie Graphics: Just Say No. Impatient Americans will
not wait half an hour for a big fat graphic to download. The rest
of the world pays for internet access by the hour, and can't
afford to wait that long.

*The First Magic Number is 100… Most web experts advise keeping
pages under 100k for efficient loading. The best program I've
come across for shrinking images without compromising their
quality is Ulead Smartsaver. You can dowload a copy of SmartSaver
3.0 on ZDNet.,,000MF0,.html
And for more info, visit the Bandwidth Conservation Society:

*The Second Magic number is 216. For best results, stick with
the 216 known web-safe colors. Find out more at the Smart Color

*Thumbnails. If you want so show off photographs of your product,
be smart-use thumbnail images in your catalogue that link to a
larger version of the photo, so the user can choose to clog up
his or her phone line, rather than feel ambushed by a huge
picture of tap shoes or home-grown herbs. More on that: humbnail.html

*Crimson and Clover, over and over Got a logo or a top bar? Good.
Use that puppy on every page for your graphic. If it's the same
graphic on every page, you'll speed things up for your users;
their computer only has to download that image once, thus
speeding things along for everyone.

And now, I'll print this list and take it home with me; it's time
to get down off my soapbox and follow my own advice!

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About Article Author

Stefene Russell
Stefene Russell

Stefene Russell is a freelance writer living in Salt Lake City,
Utah. She has worked as a print journalist and as Senior Content
Producer for
For a free website analysis, email her at or
for a detailed analysis, visit

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