Images – Web Design Resources

Collectively called graphics, images are the pictorial elements we see on a web page. Drawings, pictures, diagrams and even logos are all referred to as images. Images serve various functions on a website. They can help the designer illustrate a concept or point, or hey are used to display products and services. Images can also make a site carry more meaning. If your company trademark is a picture, you may need images to put that on a website. You can also use images as thumbnails. Thumbnails are small pictures that you put on website so that when clicked upon, a large one opens. It is used to save space on site and give visitors the option to view a larger picture.

If you are designing an e-commerce website, images will become necessary as you will need to show the visitors what products you are selling. Text could describe the product but images will do it best.

There are many types of images that a site can use. Some of the most used are GIF, PNG, JPEG, FLASH and BITMAP.

Figure 7. Free images available for download

GIF helps you create animations and are light in size. They do not provide optimum quality, but are the easiest ways to put your images on a site. GIF is not appropriate if you need to provide near real representation of objects. They cannot be as clear as the pictures used in brochures. Finally, they are not sharp. An interlace GIF is a special type of GIF that will load gradually onto a browser. This type of image will begin as a fuzzy picture and then become sharper as the page loads up.

Bitmaps are heavy files but sharper in appearance. They slow down page loading but at the same time represent the highest quality any image can produce. They are sharp and should be used sparingly.

PNG images have high quality appearance and make good images for the web. They can be compressed for faster loading without loss in quality and sharpness.

JPEG is another popular image format. They are quite heavy though sharper than GIF ones. They however tend to lose their quality as they get compressed for fast loading.

You can create your own images with standalone software such as Adobe Photoshop or you can design them online. Alternatively, you can have several images free from the net.

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