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Photo / Graphic Techniques

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Photos & Graphics
Require Special Consideration 
 
 
First: Goose wants to inform to all visitors who either have, or are currently evaluating high mega-pixal digital cameras to supply photos for their Website to forget about shooting in the high mega-pixal range.  Photos on the Web are represented at 73-75 dpi -- that dots = pixals per inch -- which amounts to about 1/2 mega-pixal.  In fact, all of the pictures which you will view in the link below were shot at 1 mega-pixal and then scaled 50%.  
 
Second: The "Rule of Thumb" holds that Websites should be designed for the "lowest common denominator" meaning the download rate of the slowest visitor, which today is a 56K dial-up.  If one subscibes to this rule, there are subsequent rules regarding the size of photo files.  Most "experts" contend that they should remain small for fast downloading.  Unfortunately, this often means that while the"idea" represented by the photo may be garnered, the real impact of the photo is lost.  In the visually rich medium of the Web it's not only a frustration.  
 
It's a problem...  It's a challenge... It's a decision!
 
Third:  We could discuss -- in fact argue -- at length the file sizes concerning photos and graphics, But in a nutshell, our thinking is shaped by our history. 
 
As mentioned in this site, The Herds is comprised of career marketiers... We are not Webmasters, per se, nor are we graphic artists by training, excepting of course Goose, the arte-e-est!.  In fact, as marketiers all of us slugged up through the hard-side of marketing -- SALES, as in "corporate revenue generation based on quotas."  And, to become and remain the successful salespersons that we are, one quickly comes to the understanding that buyers, which in this case are visitors, declare their TRUE INTEREST IN A PRODUCT OR SERVICE represented in an ad, slick, spec sheet, or site, by the time they are willing to INVEST in it (or all of them) to gather information to make an informed buying decision. 
 
The classic example concerns lawn mowers:   Studies have proven that when a person needs a new lawn mower, that prospective buyer notices / reads / studies most lawn mower ads.  However, once the person has acquired one, his/her attention dramatically shifts away for these ads, expect perhaps to ads which validate the buy decision.
 
Fourth:  So our approach in representing photos and graphic is to push the upper limits of photo sizes and acceptable download times to obtain the best graphical impact possible WITHOUT REALLY TESTING THE PATIENCE OF THE INTERESTED VISITOR.  We know from experience that if we can provide meaningful content while pictures are downloading, we can retain the attention of the targeted visitor to the site.  Frankly, just-curious-surfers are not a consideration in our informational sites, though they receive a little more consideration in an e-commerce site that has an impulse buy.
 
So, the solution which The Herd attempts to achieve
is accomplished in several ways:
 
To start:  Wherever possible, we place meaningful content above a picture.  This busies the targeted visitor with the transfer of information which we know will be of interest to him/her. This provides time for the pictures to load. 
 
Next:  We place captions around pictures to cause the visitor to not only read the text, but because they clued into the picture... to study the picture in more detail ...  again, a process of transferring knowledge while providing more time to download many pictures.
 
Finally:  We use the technique of "Click To Enlarge Image" if we believe that there is value in studying the larger picture.  However, where the enlarged photo opens in a separate window...away from the context of the page... we use this technique as the Second Best approach.