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Graphics add interest to a web page, as well as provide important pictorial information. Be aware, however, that images add to the amount of time it takes for a page to download, especially if the image has not been formatted for the web.

  • Optimize Your Image - You will need to use some kind of image editing software to optimize the image for the web. When you optimize an image for the web, you will have to balance file size and image quality. As the file size decreases, so does the image quality. As the designer, you have to decide how much quality you are willing to sacrifice in exchange for faster download times. Converting your image file to one of the two standard file types will reduce the file size, as will cropping out any excess background.
  • Image File Formats - Currently, two main file formats are used in saving graphics for the web: JPEG (stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group) GIF (stands for Graphic Interchange Format) Both of these file formats can compress the file size of a saved graphic. As a loose rule of thumb, use the JPEG format if the image you are saving is a photograph. Use the GIF format if the image you are saving is line art or a graphic with solid colors.
  • Accessibility - Don't forget to include alt tags for your images. Visually-impaired people use special software that reads web pages out loud. Screen-reading software reads the alt tags attached to an image to let the user know what is displayed in the image that they cannot see.