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Do your images slow down your site?

Written By: 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:

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/
AOL

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