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November 22, 2009

Pictures are a necessity for your website. Without them, any webpage looks boring. But suppose that your site has so many images that it would be too overcrowded to show tham all at once? In my website design business, I have several clients with this problem: an artist, a wedding consultant, a woodworking shop,… All of them need to exhibit lots of pictures of their work.

The Ultimate Fade-in Slideshow

A slideshow is one solution to this problem that lets you show as many images as you want without cluttering up your webpage. The first time I used one, the coding was done with Java, and this show is still running fine five years later. The only reason I’ve stopped incorporating it in my later websites is that they are now charging for its use, so I began to use other scripts to save my clients the additional expense.

I have not yet tried flash, which I know is quite popular, but I’m afraid I am too old-school for that. One thing I don’t like about this technique is that I find it very annoying to have a slide-down bar appear every time I go to a site that uses flash, asking me to download it — only to disappear after my browser realizes that I already have the latest version. But the main reason I’m not going to use it is that I find that it takes way too long to load. So I sometimes just give up and hit my BACK button.

My choice for slideshows is javascript. I can easily arrange it so that most of the page loads before the script begins, so visitors don’t have to just sit there and wait for the show to begin.

The script I am using on my latest websites is the Ultimate Fade-in slideshow by Dynamic Drive. This website has lots of nice features for webmasters. In addition to its many free javascripts, there have a CSS library, webmaster tools, and even a forum.

Here are some of the slideshow options – refresh the page, and you’ll see that some of these options are visible in the slideshow above:

  • The transition between images is limited to a fade-in effect, but the options available give you plenty of other choices.
  • The display can be set to automatically move to the next slide after whatever time interval you choose, or the show can be controlled manually by the viewer.
  • If on automatic, the slideshow can be set to stop rotating after a set number of cycles.
  • The show pauses on mouseover.
  • Each picture can have a descriptive subtitle. This can appear automatically, or just on mouseover.
  • Each picture can also function as a link.
  • And one feature I have not seen elsewhere: If the viewer refreshes the page, the slideshow resumes where it left off.

If you would like to see an example of how quickly this slideshow loads, even for very large images, visit my website on Virgin Islands weddings.

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