Many designers see the need for background images behind the other elements of their site. Personally, I dislike background images because they can be distracting and, in extreme cases, they can make the rest of the site unreadable.
Remember that background images are implemented in most browsers as repeating tiles. That fact can be disconcerting when you consider the effect of the repetition on browsers with unusual dimensions or larger-than-expected desktop sizes.
All that said, I did use a background image on my site at bw.org. Notice that the image file itself is designed to repeat vertically, and has plenty of excess white on the right side to prevent repetition on browsers that display up to 2048 pixels across. Figure 3 shows a screen shot of the bw.org home page. The black-and-white alternating bars on the left side are the background image. They are not well defined in this reduced-size screen shot; please visit the page on the Web ( http://bw.org/) to see it more clearly. Also, take a look at the background image file ( http://bw.org/images/bw-bg1.gif) to see how the image was created.
Figure 3-The Author's Web Site uses a simple background graphic.