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Bad Graphics

I know you like to put graphics on your page. There is little better than a site which has been done by a professional graphics designer. The perfect balance between graphics, color, fonts, photos and layout is rare and a wonder to behold.

On the other hand, a site with bad graphics or some obvious blunders can be agonizing and even painful to look at. Here are some of the more common errors.

Large Graphics

Large graphics have their place on the web. Some sites give away massive numbers of wallpaper images, which by definition are very large. In fact, I know of a site which offers over a thousand Tomb Raider wallpapers that is very good.

What you want to avoid is using large graphics on your main pages. Instead, you can use a technique such as showing thumbnail images or links to the larger graphics. Thus, those people who want the large graphics can get them, while those who do not are not forced to wait for them to load. The Tomb Raider site solved this problem by including 100 very small (32 x 32 pixel) thumbnails on a page. Clicking on an image displays the larger wall wallpaper.

Improperly Optimized Graphics

All of the common graphics formats (GIF, PNG and JPG) allow for compression of various kinds. One common error is to not take advantage of this compression. For example, you can cut down the number of colors in a GIF image, which makes it smaller. Or you can increase the loss percentage in a JPG, substantially reducing it’s size.

Why do you want to do this? Simply so that your visitors do not have to wait for a long time while your graphics load.

Animations

Check the section called “Animation Mistakes” for many common errors with animated graphics. Suffice to say that less is generally better.

Graphics which Require Plug-Ins

There are some graphics formats which require exotic and obscure plug-ins in order to be seen. While there are advantages to using plug-ins (Adobe Acrobat comes to mind as an excellent plug-in to use) they should be avoided when possible. Most of your visitors will not take the time to install a plug-in just to see your web site.

Garish backgrounds

Keep your background graphics simple and neat. You want to make sure the graphics are subtle and contract greatly with your text. In other words do not use a light pink background with light red characters. Very hard to read. Also avoid neon or other bright backgrounds – these tend to so overpower your web site that people leave almost immediately.

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