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Q&A

Q1:Do animated GIFs affect the download speed of a Web page?
A1: An animated GIF is an image file, and because it contains multiple frames, it is a larger file than a similar, non-animated GIF. As with any image, you must consider whether the effect of an animated GIF is worth the wait it can cause.

The major factors affecting the size (and thus the download time) of an animated GIF file are the number of frames it contains and the screen area it occupies. And, of course, if you build an animation from large, complex files with numerous colors, the animation file ends up large, too, despite optimization. Try to limit screen area and number frames while you're still creating an effective animation, and choose optimization settings carefully to get the best compromise between image quality and file size.

In addition to the extra download time, note that the animation can increase the memory demand and processor load in your visitor's browser. The impact is generally slight, but a visitor with an overburdened machine—for example, someone running Internet Explorer on a 486 PC with only 8MB of memory—might see a significant performance degradation when viewing animated GIFs.


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