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Thread: AOL browser

  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    I got a shock when I tried to pull up my web site in the AOL browser. I was prepared for differences in font and formatting but certainly not my graphics. Both gifs and jpegs appeared completely distorted. They were blurry beyond being legible and my gradients appeared as though they created with 8 bit color. My graphics look great in IE and Netscape. Could someone please enlighten me.

    [This message has been edited by mlbillman (edited August 22, 2000).]

  2. #2
    Skills to Pay the Bills Sparkie's Avatar
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    I haven't used AOL since 1994, but I believe the distortion in your graphics is caused by AOL's browser. It reads these graphics as .ART files, which completely changes and reorganizes the structure and makeup of your images. .ART files are only readable through the AOL browser, so that's why your graphics look just fine through IE and Netscape.

    I don't believe there's a way to change this, unless you have a second version of your site, created specifically for AOL users.

    I hope this helps enlighten you somewhat I'm sure there are others here who might know more a more in-depth answer to your question.

    Good luck with your site!


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  3. #3
    Fluffy Kitten Programmer~ Elledan's Avatar
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    Wow! This sounds serious

    Why can't the AOL browser just read .jpg & .gif images as every browser?

    I'd be very interested in hearing a thorough explanation!

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  4. #4
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    I had problem with some people who told me that my graphics were unprofessional, blurry...
    After some investigations i did find out that the people who complained about my graphics were using AOL.
    AOL is serving compressed image to it's user's > .art file.
    After this little incident i decided to install AOL on my system to take a closer look at the problem. By default AOL is compressing the image by 25%. huu!!!
    I'm pretty sure that most of AOL user's do not know about that and are simply thinking that "us", web designer, are pretty dumb people!
    However, by changing the "preferences" setting, they can chose not to compress the graphics. This way they can see graphics (almost) as well as in IE or NS.
    The best is that i tried visiting some web pages with AOL (with the graphics compression on 25%) and with IE and NS, to compare the download time. And the download time of the web page using AOL do not look faster to me!
    Also, i did not find any image editor who could open an .art file...so there is not even a way to make special graphics for AOL user's.
    If somebody did find a way i would be interested to hear about it.
    That's was my 2 words concerning graphics and AOL!
    I will stop talking and thinking about that right now, since this story is kind of irritate me. (> I do not like having people blaming me and doubting of my work for something i'm hardly responsible for!)

    And please, if anybody have some little tricks or idea concerning this topic, share with us. Thanks.


    [This message has been edited by cyberbrain (edited August 22, 2000).]

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard
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    First of all this is what one site did to help its visitors: http://www.digitalblasphemy.com/aol.shtml .
    Here's AOL's description: http://webmaster.info.aol.com/index.cfm?article=13 .

    Here's how to get the graphics good again:
    Click on My AOL and select Preferences. Then click on WWW and select the Web Graphics tab. Uncheck the use compressed graphics checkbox.

    This will slow you down.

    Maybe re-write some of that into an AOL users page and link to it on your front page?

  6. #6
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    I never expected to receive such helpful responses. Thanks everyone and thank you sitepoint. This is a terrific forum.

  7. #7
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Also if you use Internet Explorer you can download .ART support for your browser. AOL's browser is simply a customized version of IE.

    The reason AOL uses the .ART format is because it is compressed a lot more and doesn't strain their proxy servers as much. With 35 million users you have to stretch your bandwidth as much as possible. As far as I know the problem is directly related to Photoshop and only Photoshop and usually .GIF files. This has to do with how they compress the images to get around Unisys patents. The fix is simple.. Load the graphic in a different image editor and resave.

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  8. #8
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    There's a setting you can change in My AOL that will compress/uncompress the graphics. Although it says compressing graphics will speed up load time, uncompressing will make graphics view just as they do in IE, etc.


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