The internet has come a long way from the days when every page was entirely black text on a white box. What makes the world wide web so appealling is the wealth of graphics that bring life to each site. Graphics can make or break your site, so be sure to use them wisely. Look at your page with a critical eye, and have your friends check it out with these things in mind:
- Are the graphics sharp, clear images, or do they look fuzzy, or are they hard to distinguish?
- Do the graphics add creativity and color to your site, or do they look "thrown on"?
- Are the graphics consistent with the feel of your site; do they make sense in context? Cutesy bunnies would be out of place on a site about your death-metal band.
- How quickly do the graphics load? Remembering that there are all kinds of computers with all kinds of browsers and modems out there, you don't want to keep your visitors waiting while large graphics load.
- Do the graphics overwhelm the content, or are they placed carefully to enhance the site? Are there more graphics than content?
- If your site has a background graphic or background color, how do the other graphics look against it? Do they stand out, or are they smothered by the background?
You can design your own graphics with many different software programs, even one as simple as Microsoft Paintbrush. Of course, there are hundreds of web sites that can provide you with great graphics. One of those is ArtToday , which offers 659,647 images and 1,700 fonts, ready to download. With a cheap subscription you can access their entire database of graphics and find just what your site needs. They also have free images for the taking.
One of the trickiest graphics to design is a banner ad. If you want to promote your site through a banner exchange program, a well-crafted, eye-catching banner is a must. Banners can also be used as a "header" or title graphic for your site.
Her web site, www.frogfrau.com also offers an incredible assortment of graphic sets. She designs these sets to help you create that important consistency in your site. The sets typically include a background image that is a left-side border, plus assorted buttons, divider bars, bullets, and frames. Her sets are unique and beautiful; plus, they are free, and she'll give you a link off her site whenever you use one of her sets. All she asks in return is acknowledgement on your site that she designed the graphics.
Background textures and graphics can also be a fun addition to a site. Sundance Web Design created some unique, FREE background textures for our users. These are not your run-of-the-mill textures, so use them with care!
As we mentioned above, graphics that are too large and take too long to download can be detrimental to your site. Visitors may decide it is not worth the wait and move on, never really seeing what you have to offer. There is an excellent on-line tool called GifWizard that will analyze each of your graphics and help you minimize the file size without taking away the image quality. Enter the URL of the graphic (not the page the image is on, but the direct link to the graphic only) in the box below, and GifWizard will make its recommendations.
This page last updated July 30, 1999