There are some guidelines about images, the web and Zen Cart that are very important:
1) The best images to use are jpgs and gifs. Pngs are much larger in load time and really should be avoided. If you need a transparent image, you can use gifs as well but I frequently just add in the background color or pattern and not worry with transparency.
2) Best naming practices: all lowercase, no spaces or symbols besides a dash - or an underline _ . Be particularly aware of the image extension because JPG and jpg are not the same on most servers.
3) In general there's no reason to use an image larger than 600px by 600px. I usually stick with 500px by 500px. (This is at 72 dpi by the way.)
4) Optimizing images for the web to begin with is the best way to start. PhotoShop does a lousy job at optimizing images but Fireworks is made for the job. Optimizing does mean compressing which reduces the clarity of the images. No one expects clear images on the web - 72 dpi is the resolution of the normal computer and therefore clarity is not really an option.
5) Using Zen Cart? Well, there's plugin called Image Handler that can create compression and resize each image on the fly. This greatly speeds up websites and I consider it to be a must have mod. On some sites one can use a too large image with image handler and it will shut down the page the image is supposed to appear on. So optimizing the large image and sizing it appropriately should be done first when using Image Handler.
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