Here is some ageless advice I offered back in May of 2002:
One of the big problems I see with so many church websites are bloated graphics. Let me make this point very clear. Reducing the height and width attributes of the <IMG> tag does not, I repeat DOES NOT, physically reduce the physical size of the file. Nor does it reduce the size of the image via “color reduction.” We’re talking the minutes versus seconds difference your users suffer to download a 50kb image of your pastor versus one that’s 1/10th the size but still portrays the same subject.
I have a running joke with the pastor of my church. With no coordination at all, he often cites Scripture and or theological points that I just made an hour prior in my 11th Grade Sunday School class. At the end of the service, I always take time to thank him for making me look like as stinkin’ genius. Though we all really know that is the same Spirit working through different members.
Well it seems I’ve been similarly blessed with validation from none other than usability and marketing guru, Vincent Flanders where he wrote in his Father Flanders’ Sermon for Sunday, July 13, 2003:
Just because Jesus miraculously turned water into wine doesn’t mean he can miraculously turn your 1280- x 1024-pixel image whose file size is 1.8Mb into an image whose file size is only 74Kb just because you changed the WIDTH= and HEIGHT= attributes to WIDTH=”420″ and HEIGHT=”336″.
This mistake is so common that it’s beginning to be as annoying to me as the confessions of the students of the young men of my Jesuit high school were to Father Ambrose “For your penance say three Hail Mary’s” Forsthoefel.
Just from a theological point of view, Jesus was and is capable of all sorts of miracles. That point aside, Vincent is VERY correct in that we should not expect Divine Intervention for bloated images that can easly be corrected with a little software and a little know-how. Vincent offers some good freeware/shareware options in his article.
And just in case you’re not convinced … I did a quick search of my past church web site reviews. Here are a few in which this ‘big problem’ was duly noted. Some have since changed their sites. Some have not. Pray for them.
- St. Louis Catholic Church, Alexandria Virginia (warning, images so large it can crash your browser)
- Ho-ho,oh-no! Valley Fellowship, Huntsville, AL (lots of good examples of bad graphic technique)
- Whitfield Baptist Church Dalton Georgia (site has dramatically changed, but check out the chrome title banner, and the Bible graphic)
- What does it mean to Color Reduce?