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Webmaster Articles


Do Your Images Slow Down Your Site?

Title: Do your images slow down your site?
Author: Dianne Reuby

You can make your pages load more quickly by making sure you include the height and width attribute in all your image tags, like this:

<img src="mypic.gif" width="150" height="100" border="0" alt="This is a short description of the picture" >

Now the browser knows exactly how much space to leave when drawing the page on the screen. If a page has several graphics, and you don't specify their size, the browser will download the page, then the pictures. Now what? It discovers it hasn't left enough room for picture number one, so it has to re-draw the page on the screen. Next picture - same problem! Another page re-draw. And so on, right through your page.

Any visitors on a slow connection, or with a slower PC, may simply give up and move on to another site.

What does that "alt" attribute do? If you put your cursor over a picture and leave it there for a moment, you'll see the contents of the "alt" attribute that the webmaster has used for this picture. It's handy for giving visitors information such as "Click to go to ..." or "Download here".

It's also essential for visitors using text-only browsers. Are there any? Yes - plenty of blind or partially sighted web-users have them, and without an "alt" they won't know what the picture is about. If it is a "clickable" picture, linking to another part of your site, or to a download, they won't be able to access it.

Also, many users surf with the pictures turned off, to speed up page downloads. All they will see is an empty square - your "alt" will tell them what they're missing.

About the author: Dianne Reuby is co-author of the e-book "First Website Builder". Dianne created and runs the First Web Builder site, dedicated to providing ebooks and tips for new webmasters. Visit FWB at http://firstwebbuilder.co.uk/



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