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Hour 21. Optimizing a Flash Site > File Size Considerations

File Size Considerations

The fastest way to lose your audience members is to make them wait a long time for a movie to download. In a minute, you'll see how to calculate how long a movie takes to download. An even simpler formula, however, is this: The faster the movie downloads, the better. Even as Internet connections are speeding up (with technologies such as DSL and cable modems, for example), the reality is that the majority of your potential audience members are still connected via dial-up connections (56kbps modems or slower). Even if you decide to target only those people with fast connections, there's no reason to create movies that are larger than absolutely necessary. The natural tendency is to push the technology to the limit and then push it a little further. If you fill a storage closet to capacity and then you are given a larger closet, most likely you will just fill the new closet and think you need even more room—this is natural. Just because you can make large Flash files doesn't mean you should.

Calculating Download Times

It doesn't take any fancy math to estimate how long a file takes to download. You just need to know how big the file is and the rate at which it downloads. This is similar to estimating how long it takes to travel in a car; you just need to know the total distance and the speed of the car. For example, if the total distance is 30 miles and your rate of speed is 60 miles per hour, your trip should take one-half hour. Total distance in miles divided by miles per hour equals time in hours:


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