Images speak louder than words and often illustrate the point far better than pages of copy. But large files and incompatible formats can make for lengthy download times – something that frustrates people and could get them to leave your website.
Despite improvements in networks and internet connectivity, there are still some at the mercy of very slow connections (e.g. dial-up) and those accessing sites from mobile phones.
There are a few important guidelines to remember:
1. Be sure to choose the correct format
Experts agree that as a general rule of thumb, images that have solid/flat colours are best saved in PNG and GIF format – eg line drawings, graphs, bar charts and so on. For images with continuous colour – like photographs, detailed illustrations (such as art works), and so on, rather use JPG format.
2. Optimise your file size
There are several really good photographic packages available – either free ware or commercial – that are ideal for reducing the file size and quality without really affecting the overall appearance on the website. This is especially useful if you do not need to use really large, crystal-clear images as you would need to for a photographic site, for example.
Often by simply cropping an image, resizing it and reducing the quality and/or colour of the image, you can considerably reduce its file size.
3. Limit the number of images and photographs per page
Use images, illustrations and photographs cleverly and sparingly. Often one clear image works better and can illustrate something more precisely than using several different images would.
Using these three simple principles to optimise the images and graphics on your site, you will significantly reduce the time each page takes to load, thereby improving how your webpages perform and keeping your visitors interested and on your site for longer.
Need help with your web design? Contact WSI OMS today!