Advantages and disadvantages of using images and sitemaps

What is an image-map? It’s an image whose different parts are linked to different locations on the site. There are actually two types of image maps, server-side maps and client-side maps. The last ones are usually supported by all modern browsers. Because usage of old browsers is very negligible, there is no need for server-side maps anymore. Besides, to create a server-side image map one has to have a good knowledge of programming. On the contrary, client-side maps can be created by using simple HTML tags.

Advantages of image maps

  • An image-map is a large image where you can insert a number of links without worrying about layout;
  • There are many programs available that can generate the code; hence lesser HTML scripting is involved;
  • To create an image map is not difficult. The abundance of  various programs makes this job very simple. You can use a program “MapThis” and create your image map within a short period of time.

Disadvantages of image maps

  • An image-map uses only ALT attribute. Because of this reason it’s impossible to have different ALT attributes for different links. Those visitors who use text-based browsers or might not be happy;
  • All interactivity is impossible. Individual links can’t have separate mouseovers.
  • As it’s been said before, an image-map is one solid image and if it’s been poorly optimized it will take ages to download.

A big number of developers tend to merge their image-maps and post individual images using table tags. This method does require a certain working experience with coding, however, by doing so you will manage to provide individual ALT tags.


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