Background images were first introduced into Netscape and Microsoft browsers since version 3.x and have since been widely adopted by many webmasters as part of their site design. However, many web designers are not utilizing the fact that backgrounds “wrap” in the background of web pages. These techniques can help shave your file size down by several fold.
Experiment With Smaller Dimensions
Because browsers tile background images, it is possible to create very small (ex: 1600 width x 2 height) background images to span across the entire web page. This technique will put the burden of composition on the browser as opposed to excess bandwidth.
Avoid Interlacing Background Images
Because interlaced GIF files use additional bandwidth in order to start delivering graphics as they load, you can easily cut out a couple hundred bytes per image loaded if you use non-interlaced GIF’s. Check with your graphics software documentation on how to set this option.
Because most background images use small image dimensions, compressing backgrounds can usually save an extra 20-30% while keeping quality and detail quite modest. Most software packages have the option on deciding whether you want to save higher quality images or lower file size. Try experimenting with these options in your graphics software until you find the setting which produces small enough files without sacrificing image quality.
Substituting Graphics With Tables
Alternatively, web designers who use solid colors as a background image may be able to get around using images entirely by using either the BGCOLOR tag (embedded into the BODY, TABLE, TR or TD tag) or by using a combination of tables to simulate the effect.
Sample Usage BACKGROUND Image Usage
Syntax: <BODY BACKGROUND=”/images/background.gif”>
Syntax: <BODY BGCOLOR=”#CCCCCC”>
Syntax: <TABLE BGCOLOR=”#CCCCCC”>
Syntax: <TR BGCOLOR=”#CCCCCC”>
Syntax: <TD BGCOLOR=”#CCCCCC”>