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6D. Technical Infrastructure:

Key Concepts

  image quality




Delivery encompasses the processes of getting digital images and auxiliary files to your users. The most important components are networks and display devices (mainly monitors and printers). It is at this stage in the chain where knowing your users becomes at least as important as knowing your documents.

Unless your digital images are strictly for in-house use, some delivery components are beyond your control. For example, if most users are connected to the Internet with 56Kbps modems, a collection of beautiful 24-bit color images, averaging 500KB in size and taking over two minutes each to download, will frustrate users.

Successful delivery to a mixed audience of in-house and off-site users requires careful advance planning. If resources allow, the best approach is to offer multiple versions of images, taking advantage of greater capacity where it exists, but also supporting low bandwidth connections with lower quality images. Beware of the "lowest common denominator" approach, which may seem egalitarian, but ultimately deprives high-end users of the potential value of your images.

Decisions about file formats, compression ratios, and scaling all will have an impact on delivery. The Presentation section covers these issues. New and emerging file formats offer multi-resolution capability, providing an alternative to creating multiple versions of the same image.

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