Control Your Colors to Make Smaller and Faster Web Graphics

You can make your Web pages load faster if you reduce the color depth of in-line graphics. This will make your page more useable, impress your audience, and even save space on your server. A GIF file can only have 256 colors max, so most of the time to save space, you need to reduce the number of colors to the lowest number you can (less than 256) before the image degrades beyond recognition. Often this might mean as few as 8, 16, or 32 colors. A whole niche of software products such as ImageReady and Fireworks has emerged to optimize graphics in this way. JPEG files do not benefit from reducing colors to 256; the JPEG compression routine is designed to handle photographic imagery well regardless of the color depth. Of course, if the purpose of your Web page is to show hi-color, ignore this tip.

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