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  #1  
Old 13 Aug 2002, 06:10
K33nny K33nny is offline
 
Join Date: May 2002
The smaller in size, the better.

No, we aren't talking about the size of the male genitila. My concern, thoughts, and question is about the size of forums as far as pages go.

Xelation.com - The page sizes are quite large but the look is extremely swell
FeXBoards.com - The page sizes aren't as much as Xelation Forums but still up there.
Yaxay.com - The page sizes are pretty decent but yet c-pr0mpt was able to keep the look extremely top tier.

I was wondering what tips should be given to keeping file sizes down. I'm working on a style right now and just the basic layout and ONE postbit is .9 kb when there are 7 it's about 42 kb a page. I was thinking, "thats going to be a lot when you add in all the fields, post info, etc."

I was just wondering what people thought was an appropriate size for forum pages were.

I dunno, kinda worried that its going to cost me to have the best looking forums I can create & run.

/sigh

Discuss.
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  #2  
Old 13 Aug 2002, 20:47
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mashby mashby is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Real name: Michael Ashby
I think this is an excellent topic. Many times we, as webmasters, we forget how large our pages can get once people begin posting. The more graphics we use, the larger the page can get as people add more and more posts. So, I think you're making a great point in bringing this up k33ny.

I don't know what the "ideal" page size is, but I think a lot of it has to do with who your audience is. If you're a specialized board that focuses on graphic design, then I think that you'd probably sacrifice some bandwidth in order to have better, higher quality images in your site. So, if you're catering to hi-bandwidth users, such as a gaming board, then this may not be much of a concern. However, if you're trying to have the widest possible audience, then file size is going to be a serious factor for you.

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Shrink Your Images
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The first step is to take a look at the graphics that you're creating. You need to make them as small as you possibly can. For example, if you're designing a .gif image, do you need 32 colors, or can you back it off to 16? These may seem like small details, but once your site gets rolling, these bloated images can really present a problem.

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Limit Image Use
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The next area would be to focus on determining IF you even need an image for certain sections. Sometimes text, or a background color can produce the same effects.

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Limit User Options
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The other area that you can focus on is setting your users options when it comes to graphics. Do you want attachments to appear inline? What about signatures? Should graphics be allowed?

I've seen some sites where the user's signatures are such a big part of the site that the content is simply overshadowed by the graphics used in the users's signatures.

You might also want to limit how many posts display per page. That way you minimize how many posts end up

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Test and Test Again
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But the best way to test your site is to try it on different browsers and different computers. Visit your site from a friend's house, or school, or the library. Try and see your site from as many different points of view as possible.

One browser that I love to test with is Opera [link]. It displays how large the page is when it's downloading and provides a lot of good insight. You can also simply save a page you're viewing to your local hard drive. Then check the properties to see just how large a page actually is.

For example, this page is 75.2k in size and includes 41 images. Keep in mind, as of this writing, that only one post has been made.

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Other Issues Too
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Another factor to page load speed can be javascript, sql queries and a number of other factors as well. So, even if you have a lean mean graphic machine, there may be other issues to check as well.

Case in point, I'm currently working with PalmSource [link] and they are going through a web re-design. They are set to launch this Friday and they've just discovered that they have to retool all of their pages. Why? Becuase they have used SO MUCH javascript that their pages were taking up to 1 minute to display in some cases. So it just goes to show you that no one is immune to this issue.
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  #3  
Old 14 Aug 2002, 01:07
imported_plattopus imported_plattopus is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
The main thing I notice when looking at postbits, is that all too often developers take the easy way out and use images instead of creative HTML. It's far easier from a design point of view to make each postbit a few images as opposed to a whole lot of HTML... even though the outcome is the same.

HTML loads many times faster than images do, so use it as often as possible!
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