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eBay Hacks, 2nd Edition by David A. Karp

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Hack #77. Make Clickable Thumbnails

Use thumbnails for professional-looking auction photos that load quickly.

If you're hosting your auction photos [Hack #76] , you have the freedom to include as many full-size, high-quality images as you like at no additional charge. But you're also responsible for inserting those photos into your auctions and presenting them in a way that is efficient and appropriate.

Now, large photos are more dramatic and eye-catching than small ones, but they also take longer to load, and including a lot of them will overwhelm the rest of the auction page (especially on small screens).

For some perspective, an average eBay auction page is about 45 kilobytes in size, not including any photos you might include. (There's also about 215 KB of JavaScript code and 18 KB of eBay images, but these will be quickly cached and ultimately loaded only once.) The size of a single, medium-sized JPG file is usually 50–60 KB; include eight or nine such photos, and each bidder will have to download at least a half-megabyte of data just to look at your listing.

Thumbnail photos are much smaller than their full-size equivalents, both in physical dimensions and in the amount of data that must be transferred. This means that by replacing several full-size photos with thumbnails, your auction will not only appear tidier but will load faster as well.

Preparing the Images

Thumbnails are nothing more than smaller versions of full-size images, so you'll need to make two versions of each photo. ...

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