Your Website Design — Four Tips to Remember when Using Graphics

In this article, I include four graphics tips that I learned the hard way.

TIP #1. Be sure to use the ALT parameter. The ALT parameter is the descriptive text that should be included with the image tag. The reasons are that often visitors have set their browsers to not display graphics, if a link is broken the visitor will only see a box with a red x, and those who are visually impaired will have no idea what is being included on the page (they now have programs that read the text to them as they surf, so they will hear the description in the ALT tags). In addition, the browsers of today show a box with the ALT text when one rolls their mouse over the image. This is a big help if you rely upon buttons for your navigation.

TIP #2. Don’t rely upon graphics for presenting your content. Many graphic designers who have come to the Internet from print work have been disappointed by the lack of having the usual variety of fonts they have enjoyed in the past. To circumvent this scarcity, they develop graphics using fonts of their choice to broadcast their message. The problem is that search engines judge a site and pages by the words that appear. They do not read the words on a graphic, so you will miss out on placement. My suggestion is to use the fonts available.

TIP #3. Use excellent photographs. I prefer to take my own. If that is impossible, ask for original prints to scan or high resolution digital images. After enhancing with the graphics program of your choice, use that program to do as much compressing of file size as possible without losing all of the detail. Most users today are in too much of a hurry to wait for lengthy downloads.

TIP #4. Make sure that the graphic images that you use for navigation are self-explanatory. I have visited many sites with clever icons that are actually links to other pages, but are confusing enough that one has no idea where he or she is going. Just remember that the easier the navigation, the longer your visitor will stay on your site and the longer the better!

Graphics are fun and definitely enhance your site. Just make sure that you or your designer/developer uses them with thought and care!