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Web Design Reference Guide

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Take the Pain out of Waiting for Pages to Load

Last updated Oct 17, 2003.

Optimization strategies vary by media and mark up. Also impacting load times are audio, videos, heavily tabled pages, frames, and Web servers. Every element, or file, requires its own HTTP request to the server, which adds up. A photo album of 100 thumbnail images means 100 HTTP requests meaning it's likely to load slower than one large.

The yardstick by which to measure the size of a page or graphic continually changes as average Internet connection speeds increase. Some may wait longer than eight seconds and some less. The wait time is dependent on what the user is getting from the site and its importance.

Every step taken toward optimization is a step to a faster loading Web site and increased speed equals increased stickiness.

One of the simpler rules in images is to save photos or realistic images in Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) with the .jpg extension. Use Graphics Interchange Format, better known by its extension, .gif when dealing with flat-colored or solid images. This is discussed in more detail in the Web Graphics ection of this Guide.