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Teaching Notes for Chapter 5

Download the end-of-chapter questions. (Zipped plain text files, UTF-8 encoded.)

Many graduates will be able to get by as Web designers without knowing a great deal about graphics, despite the number of images on the Web. All they really need to know is which formats can be used, how to prepare images for Web use, and how to embed them in pages. Therefore, it would be possible to skim through this chapter fairly lightly, if time was short and other material was felt to be more important. We have included additional material, explaining something about how images are stored and compressed because we feel it is valuable to understand what is going on. Knowing more about these subjects will enable students to avoid using inappropriate image resolutions or making unwise choices of compression parameters, for example.

We have also included a section on vector graphics. This would provide useful background for students who will be working with Flash, since it is a vector-based format. Courses which are closely based on W3C standards and XML could include the material on SVG, but at present SVG is not widely used and shows few signs of becoming widely used, so most students could omit it.

Essential Material

A minimal treatment would be restricted to the introductory section on display and storage of images, the section on colour (omitting colour spaces), the introductory material on compression, especially the distinction between lossless and lossy, the description of bitmapped image file formats, and the description of XHTML markup for images. (Image maps could be omitted if necessary, since they are no longer widely used.)


For practical work, use professional tools, if possible. Photoshop is the industry standard, although Fireworks is quite widely used. The Gimp is poorly regarded in the industry, and will not provide students with a marketable skill, so it should only be used if budgets don't permit anything else.