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Chapter 5. Advanced Graphics > Making an Image Fade In

Making an Image Fade In

Even when image files are made as small as possible, it can still take a while for them to download. Initially, browsers had to load and process the entire file before it began to present the image onscreen. This meant users had to sit there staring at a blank screen for minutes at a time. Because user attention spans are short, people would often give up in frustration and move on to another page instead of waiting for an image to finish downloading.

Since those early days, two approaches to reducing user frustration have emerged. Both involve having an image "fade in" as the image data is read by the browser. The user sees a blurry, incomplete image at first, but then the image quality improves as more data is read in. The key thing for users is that they immediately see an approximation to the finished image on their screens. This keeps them engaged and makes it less likely that they will move on to another page.


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