There are probably a hundred posts on this subject and you might say that it is a worn out terribly old faded piece of writing. I wouldn’t disagree more. Yes, this is a hundred plus post on the subject but let me tell you all that there is much more to it than simply download speed. There are some graphics which can lead to suboptimal optimization. Then there are those which simply dazzle you with their images but are a unique way to commit online suicide. Here is my take on graphics.
Slow download speed
I know I am beginning with the obvious but download speed has been known to be a big issue and people take out their stop watches to measure it. Yet we don’t seem to go beyond this step. I see lots of websites which begin with a Flash animation. Though download speeds have increased tremendously with broadband access, Flash animations still have to run for the duration they have been designed for. This means a long wait which visitors no longer appreciate. I know for sure that ninety percent of the crowd is put off by this show. They simply close the tab and move on.
Even otherwise too many graphic elements can confuse visitors and leading them to lose focus. Some may argue that there are sites which demand a huge amount of graphics, but I disagree. They not only result in a frustrating wait but lead to visual fatigue. Internet has now evolved into a information engine and people log in to extract information. Graphics should only be there to the extent that they enhance user experience, not impede their search for information.
Graphics lead to poor SEO
Text used in Flash animation and in graphics cannot be used for search engine optimization. I have seen home pages which have pure Flash, even entire sites pure Flash – these sites will never show up in any search. By the time website owners realize this, it is too late. The entire site has to be redone.
Another important factor to remember is to have links as text, not embedded into graphics. That’s why you will often see two sets of buttons, one as graphics and another as text, which appears at the bottom of the web page. The first is for human consumption while the second is for SEO.
Use graphics selectively to enhance user experience
Attractive, elegant, unobtrusive and pleasant graphics can enhance user experience. The trick is in using graphics sparingly. This will highlight existing graphic elements and would at the same time remain unobtrusive.
Modern internet users are looking for information and they don’t want to wait for it. Graphics only act as impediments to their goal. Minimalism is in. This sparse look has been popularized by Google. This is also the reason why I don’t use Internet Explorer any longer – it is too graphics intensive and gives me claustrophobia. Anyway, there are custom sites which provide visual appeal and stunning graphics. In such a scenario it is better to keep to plain text.
Nitin Aggarwal owns the company Offshore Ally, which offers professional virtual assistant and link building services online. He enjoys blogging and reading about new techniques of Internet marketing. Connect with him via Twitter.