Help With Website...

Q: As you can tell, I am new to computers, which is the reason for my post. I am trying to build a website for my beading and HTML, and I we are not "getting along". One question I have that I can not find an answer for anywhere is: What size do I make the graphics (not DPI, but physical size)? Also, should I use GIF or JPEG?

A: They should be any reasonable size that you like. Some people hate larger photos because they take longer to load, but if the photo is good quality, and the excess background is cropped out, I always like to see at least a little bit of detail. I wouldn't go much over 25 square inches (approximately 5" x 5") per image, as a general rule. Each photo should be sized/cropped according to the subject matter and the amount of detail you want to show. Don't place all your big images on one page. Make thumbnails of them, and link the thumbnails to the larger pictures on their own separate pages. And... IMPORTANT: Always create/save your thumbnail images as separate images at thumbnail size. I often see people use the same file of the larger image to use as their thumbnail. This defeats the purpose of having thumbnails (so the viewer gets to decide which large image to view) because it takes those thumbnails just as long to load as the full sized images. Use two files. One small one for the thumbnail, and the large one for the full sized image. For photos, I always suggest using JPEG images instead of GIFs. JPEGs are much better photo image quality, and are nearly always smaller file size, and faster to load than GIFs. DO NOT listen to anyone that tells you otherwise - I have done extensive research on the subject. Reserve GIF format for line art and images with limited colors, flat colors, etc., such as logos. Don't over-compress your JPEG photo files. Use at least medium quality, and once you have saved a JPEGged image, avoid re-saving it over again... each time it's resaved/recompressed, you lose a great deal of detail. Most newer computers and video/monitor setups using the latest browsers can see at least thousands of colors. I think the suggestion that designers "dummy-down" their work to cater to those with outdated hardware technology is less than timely. Indexing colors at web-safe palettes may allow everyone to view your site the same way, but I think it's akin to asking that every restaurant serve only Big Macs, because that's all some people like to eat. I prefer to make my sites as attractive as possible, because soon there will no longer be 256 color video. Some people may be unable to appreciate the full experience, but I doubt it's a major concern of theirs anyway, or else they'd likely have updated their hardware to the latest video technology. I totally respect your opinion. I hope I haven't offended anyone, because I certainly don't mean to sound like I think people who have obsolete equipment are not worthy of consideration. I am an artist, and creating beautiful things is what I strive to do. I also like looking at beautiful things, and interestingly enough, if I go to a website that has poor-quality images and lackluster design, I'm quickly bored and move on. Funny how we each are individuals. =0)