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Using Graphics and Photos in Websites.
A picture says a thousand words. Adding graphics and pictures to your website can make it easier for your viewers to assimilate the information on your site. They contribute colour, interest and information. "Content is what you say, design is how you say it." (Kramer, W. Basic Design, 2000)
The same design standards apply and should be used on the web as are used in print design, but they are more difficult to implement on the web due to the limitations of XHTML (a computer language used to make websites). (Kramer, W. Basic Design Principles pp.1-13)
You can use your own photos and graphics and you can also buy them. There are many companies that have websites offering photos and clip art for sale. The free ones are sometimes of poor quality, old and out of style.
The most reasonably priced and easy to use clip art company I have found is clipart.com they sell clipart, photos, fonts, animations and sounds by subscription. You join their subscription for a set amount of time and in that time you can take as many copies of all of the above as you want.
Companies that sell current photos often charge a lot. $200 for the right to use one photo is not uncommon.
Pictures and graphics have to be optimized for use on the internet. This means reducing their file size so that it doesn't take too long for them to load into the browser window. If it takes too long for your page to load, the viewer may not be willing to wait, and may move on to the next website. This is especially true for people with slow connections such as dial up connections.
The most popular formats on the web today are GIF and JPEG. GIF are mainly used for graphics and JPEGs are mainly used for photos. (Castro, E., 2004 p.84)
Usually photos and graphics will look darker on a Windows computer than they do on a Mac.(Libpng.org, Gamma correction par. 1, 2004) The PNG format which has the advantage of looking the same on Windows and Mac computers is becoming more widely supported by browsers. The main exception is Microsoft Windows browsers which only have broken alpha support in Windows versions 4.0b2 through 6.0 (Libpng.org, Browsers with PNG support, 2004)
For example, the banner graphic at the top of this page would take 4 seconds to download on a modem with a speed of 56kbps. So if you wanted 10 graphics this size on the page, it would take 40 seconds for the page to be fully viewable in a browser window on a modem with a speed of 56kbps. You have to think about whether people will be willing wait that long to see what you have to offer. Or will they move on to the next website which downloads faster?
Using small images and graphics will usually reduce the download time. But actually the important point is the file size of the graphic or photo. If a large photo has a small number of colours it's download time may be less than a smaller graphic with many colours. Photos which are 20-30KB will download almost instantaniously. (Learn the Net. Build a Website, 2004)
If you want to cater to everyone using the internet, each web page should not be more than 50KB. (Webdevelopers Notes, 2001-2004). The banner at the top of this page is 32KB and the text content is 12KB. the other graphics take it just over 50KB.
Photos can be taken with digital cameras and transferred onto the computer or they can be scanned from books, brochures and printed photos. In any case they will need to have their file size reduced for use on the web.
Graphics can be made for you by your webmaster or a graphic designer.
You can send graphics and photos to your webmaster by email if you know how to do that. You can also put them onto a CD Rom or give them the original photos and art work to scan.
Kramer, W.(2000)Design seminars. Retrieved on 24th September 2004 from http://www.warrenkramer.com/design.php
Learn the Net (2004) Build a website. Working with graphics. . Retrieved November 16th, 2004 from http://learnthenet.com/english/html/48grafix.htm
Libpng.org (2004). A basic introduction to PNG features, Gamma correction. Retrieved November 3, 2004 from http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/pngintro.html
Libpng.org (2004) Browsers with PNG support, Internet Explorer. Retrieved November 3, 2004 from http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/pngapbr.html#msie-mac
Webdevelopers Notes, 2001-2004. Optimizing web pages - maximum page size.
Retrieved November 21st, 2004 from http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com/design/
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