Characteristics of web graphics
The web has not taken to graphics as wholeheartedly as the print has. This is because several characteristics of web graphics make it unsuitable for the net. The biggest complaint against graphics is that they take a lot of time to download. This is not a frivolous complaint. Graphics use a large number of images to convey a point. This adds to the weight of a web page. Users who are still to migrate to high speed broadband lines find it very difficult to open pages carrying web graphics.
The size of the screen also limits the utility of web graphics. Unlike a newspaper, the computer screen is much smaller. This forces graphic designers to squeeze a lot of content, illustrations and images in a small area. The graphic designer is forced to reduce the size of the font, which makes reading difficult.
Another problem with graphics is the attention span of Internet user. The users are in a hurry to browse and move on to another page. They feel reluctant to read each and every explanatory chunk of text entered by the graphic designer. All this has limited the use of graphics on the net.
But this does not mean that graphic designers should ignore the medium. They must come up with new ideas if they want web graphics to find a larger user base. For this, they need to limit their experimentation with fonts. In the print, the fonts used to design graphics are different from the fonts used to compose text. This should not be so on the net. A web graphic must be simple, and use only those fonts that are easy to read. The graphics designer should also avoid using several varieties of fonts.
The graphic designer must also avoid excessive use of rules, boxes or color in the graphic. Most important, the graphic should not be more than one computer screen in height. No user likes graphics that run deep on the page, forcing the user to scroll up and down the page.
There is no limitation on the use of colors. The graphic designer can use colors to liven a graphic, as long it is not overdone. The same applies to use of screen. The screens should be light in tone, so that any content superimposed them are easy to read.
Finally, it is the readability, legibility and clarity that matters.