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Melissa's right about being certain that all of your users are going to
have high-speed connections; where that's almost guaranteed not to be
true is on public (non-internal) Web pages.
Assuming the majority of people who wander in to your Web site will be
doing it over 14.4K modem connections, and using graphics so that a page
will completley load in relatively short order for them, will score you
major points. There is no disadvantage to users with higher-speed
connections; speed improves for them, too. The worst thing you could say
about this kind of approach is that the higher-speed users COULD be
seeing larger graphics without spending a lot of time waiting.
Speaking as a 14.4K Web browser and veteran Windows Help user, I strongly
counsel using icons and small graphics imaginatively. Huge graphics will
impress those wou can receive them quickly, but the 14.4'ers are likely
to hit the Stop button and head for another URL. The bit about WinHelp,
BTW, comes from trying to use help systems with WAY too many graphics on
286's and 386's with 15" monitors. :-)