Yes, bandwidth has skyrocketed in availability and become reasonable in costs, but that doesn’t mean a developer should design and build web files that are huge and silly. Build web files that are compact and easy to download, and you win.
Files that are unnecessarily large are unfriendly to end-users, unfriendly to the development cycle, unfriendly to bandwidth, and unfriendly to costs (especially if one tries to download from 3G connections). I still come across my fair share of creatives from large shops who would create files that are HUGE that are merely intended for the low-resolution Internet.
One of the hallmarks of people our tenure, having been a pioneering desktop publishing and multimedia developer since the late 1980s, is that we were using the likes of the monochrome Mac Plus to develop publications and interactive media, on floppy discs no less. We understand the importance of developing and optimizing files that are compact and right-sized, such that we don’t waste any storage medium while catering to its constraints.
Right up to today, I still believe strongly that files need to be rightsized, and not huge for no good reason. Just because a photographic image is huge, does not make it good. A great photographer can shoot with a smartphone, with the right composition, the right perspective, the right moment, the right lighting, and get a photograph that is infinitely better and more appreciated as art, than an image taken on the most expensive camera with huge RAW files. It is not about the tool. It is about the creativity and perspective of the artist/photographer.
Likewise, when designing for the Web, files need to be friendly to users downloading your files on their browsers, whether on a desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone. Graphics and images meant for the Web are not supposed to be as large as a file meant for a glossy magazine – think SCREEN resolution.
There are many tools that are meant for the modern Web, especially HTML5 tools that write elegantly small files. If you need basic animation, CSS and HTML5 make a great combination toolset for developing simple interactive files meant for web banners, web advertising, and even widgets for more complex web sites. There is no need, at all, to use esoteric tools calling multi-megabyte static graphics and images. It just shows the lack of understanding of the Web paradigm compared to the traditional print paradigm.
It is never too often to repeat – the Web is NOT the same as the print medium. And even then, the print medium demands a sensible optimization of the images and graphics.
And if you are looking for someone who appreciates elegantly small files rightsized for specific media, and understands how best to optimize and develop for the Web and print, talk to us.