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Chapter 22. Saving Images for the Web > File Size and the Web

File Size and the Web

Visitors to a Web site access the information remotely. The data is sent to their computers and forwarded to their monitors by means of wires and cables (and in some cases, wirelessly). Very often, the information travels, in part, along telephone cables. Such transmission of data has some limitations, not the least of which is speed. Only so much information can pass along the cables and wires during a specified period of time. The typical unit of measure is one second. The data transfer rates are measured in kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). Some internal networks can handle gigabits per second, and one day soon that might be the norm for home Internet links. In the meantime, a massive number of Web surfers are surfing with download times measured at 53Kbps or slower.

To efficiently serve visitors who don’t have access to DSL, cable modem, or other high-speed connections—those who still depend upon dial-up Internet connections—you should keep file size to a minimum. The balance between size and speed can be hard to find. Keep in mind, however, that many Web surfers are not patient. They will not wait for a large image to download unless, perhaps, that particular image is the reason for their visit to your site. Art-related Web sites are one example of an exception. The connection speed is just one of many factors that affect how quickly a Web page downloads. A network server’s traffic load, the route that the data must travel, and even how many people are surfing the Web at a particular time are just some of the others.


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