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Background Images: Friend or Foe?

By Jennifer Kirk
Posted Monday, November 29, 2004

You have found that perfect background image for your brand new website. But before you upload it, be sure to learn how to use your background image on your webpage without turning away potential customers. You have found the perfect background image for your webpage, and have designed your entire color scheme for your site around your beloved background. You launch your site... and the complaints start rolling in.

While background images can add visual appeal on some computers, on others they are a recipe for disaster.

All computer monitors and graphics cards are not created equal. What may look like a pale peach swirly background on your computer may turn into a garish neon orange and yellow on the next computer.

What can you do to combat this problem? There are a couple of different ways to make your site user friendly while still utilizing a background image on your page, and to do it without losing visitors in the process.

Use the image as a background, but use it as a border by placing all your text and images within a table set to a plain color background. This can add visual appeal, but will not overpower any visitors. You must set a plain color background (always use a pale background color).

Never use a dark image background with white text. Why? Because a visitor with their image viewing option turned off in their browser will come across a seemingly blank white page instead. This will also allow modem users to read the text while waiting for the entire page and images to load.

Some surfers also set their options to automatically display all text as black (or dark blue) and when they come to a page with a dark background and dark text, they won't bother changing their options, they will just continue on to your competitor's site.

You can also set your table border to be your background image, to provide a splash of your image, without being overpowering. Simply change the border size of your table to a larger number (ie. 5-10) then change the table border background to your image.

About the Author
Jennifer Kirk is the owner and chief visionary of MyMommyBiz. Along with a very active message board community, visitors will find all the tools they need to start, build, and network their business or party plan online and off.