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July 17th, 2001

Because I've seen way too many sites using *.PNG images in their front pages I feel like I should formally issue a statement or something. First off, this is the internet. The main idea of the internet is to have quick and easy access to information. Apparently, the quick part is easily forgotten. Now, while there are many of you who may say "Go get yourself a faster modem," I must insist that for the greater half of the year, I am on either T1 or DSL. And I now how easy it is to become spoiled by speed. But you have to consider that the majority of internet uses still dial-up. Know your audience when you design a site. If you were designing a FLASH site, loading time would be of no concern because you know your target audience has a fast connection or else they would enjoy looking at FLASH designs as a hobby. But if you're running a site about CCS or CC, then you know that your audience is kids, probably not in college, who are using their parents connection to the net. cough *56 K* cough.

Okay, so here's the test. You see the two images right there? They look pretty much the same don't they? If you see a major difference in quality, then it's because your on an AOL browser. My advice is click on your "SETTINGS" menu in green (if you're on 6.0) at the top, then select "Preferences." Select "Internet Properties (WWW)." You should now be looking at a big gray Microsoft selection screen. Select the tab at the top that say "Web Graphics" and then select "Never compress graphics." Now, if you empty you cache, all the images you download from now on will be uncompressed and thus higher quality, even if they are JPEG. And that way, all your stuff will no longer be saved as an *.ART file.

So now part two of this test is, the JPEG image up there is 16,177 Kb, and the PNG image is 47,258 Kb. That, my friends, is quite a difference. Now imagine having ten PNG images to load at that size every time you enter a site. Not everyone using the "cache" function to store images so they don't have to reload. Never take that kind of thing for granted. Believe me, if I had to wait around and reload some of these CCS sites every time I visited, I would stop visiting. Overall, if you're using either Adode Photoshop (any version) or Paint Shop Pro (6 and above) you have the option of optimizing your images for web viewing (it's on the saving menu, your choices when saving a JPEG are "Save," "Cancel," and "Options," so choose options. But I'm pretty sure the people who create those PNG images know how to do this, because most of those images are gorgeous. But then, I guess this is for those of you who are following in the trend. Always consider your audience. And if that doesn't do it, take a poll, and ask them if they'd rather have compressed images. You might be surprised at the results.  



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