The Favicon, an Untapped Photo Promotion Trick – Animated Favicons?

A favicon is that little image that most browsers display on the street address brand and in the favorites (bookmarks) menu. Tabbed browsers like Firefox and Opera expand the operation of favicons, adding them with their tabs. The title was coined based on Internet Explorer (the first browser to aid it) and derives from “Favorites Icon”. Each browser has a unique user interface, and as a result uses the favicon in various ways. The favicon allows a company to further promote its identity and impression by displaying a company logo, a graphical message, etc. Normally, the favicon reflects the look and feel of the web page or the organization’s logo.
A traditional favicon is truly a Microsoft Windows ICO file. An ICO file is actually a repository of bitmap like photos. They are used because in a few locations a 16×16 pixel image is desired, and sometimes a 32×32 image could be needed. Sometimes a 16 shade image is desired, and oftentimes a 256 colour icon is desired.
You probably already knew all of the above.
But did you know that Firefox can screen animated favicons? If you don’t believe me, open Firefox and head to my site, (there must be a link at the bottom of the article). if you don’t have Firefox, download it, it’s a “must have” and you may quickly fall in love with the simplicity and convenience of tabbed browsing. Even if you are not a designer but only a site owner, in today’s environment you absolutely must know how your site looks in all browsers. You would think that all websites should look the same, but as browsers are more diverse and more sophisticated, standards are not respected and things can get messy. For example, I simply discovered that a few pages on my internet site don’t look needlessly to say in the most recent version of Opera and must be adjusted.
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Ok, I hope by now you observed my animated favicon in Firefox and returned to the article to learn more about it…
The main reason why you can view animated favicons in Firefox is because Firefox abolished the proprietary ICO format in favor of the ability to display any supported image formatting in the favicon location, incorporating BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG and… animated GIFs.
So now you understand the big secret, the animated favicon is nothing but a tiny animated GIF.
Here is a very neat trick, that can actually be utilized to visualize how any photo appears like as a 16×16 pixel icon – once you start designing one of those, you will realize that it is extremely hard to produce a legible image on a 16 square pixels canvas:
Find any site with any graphic you are interested in. Right click on the image and chose “View Impression” from the dialog. A blank webpage should display together with your chosen image and surprise: you can observe a miniature 16×16 duplicate of the impression as a favicon! Uhh… perform I have to mention again that people are doing all this in Firefox?
A hacker’s mind will immediately think about how great it would be to utilize this feature as a transformation tool. Unfortunately, unlike WEB BROWSER and Opera, Firefox doesn’t retail outlet FavIcons in .ico data, the icons are stored within an encoded format directly in the bookmark file.
You can apply the same principle to animated GIFs and you may notice that a miniature edition of the animation in addition plays in the deal with bar and on the tabs.
Perhaps one of many reasons why you don’t see that many sites using animations is usually browser compatibility. Animated favicons are not treated at all by WEB BROWSER. A static image will never be extracted from the animation sometimes. Instead, the default .htm icon (as defined in Windows’ filetypes) will be placed under one’s Favorites – once added, that’s. The animations are not reinforced by Netscape, Opera, Konqueror, Safari; at least so it seems at the time of this writing. The Firefox friends and family seems to be the only real friend to animations, yet as browsers evolve, broader support for animation will most likely come along (or, the idea will die).
So, why not benefit from this *right now* and ‘beat the rush’?
Basically, this is how it’s done:
1. You make a 16×16 animated GIF.
2. You upload the animated GIF to the “root” of one’s site, or to any other location.
3. You hardcode in your page the location where Firefox should look for the animation.
That’s really it, “big picture” wise.
If you don’t feel too creative or just don’t have time and/or patience, a reputable professional design firm (such as Bsleek) will be able to make a nice animated favicon for you personally. Another alternative – I don’t endorse it, as your goal should be to excel through unique content material and push your personal image out there – is to find one of the numerous galleries online and frequently download a all set made animated favicon or take a large animated GIF and resize it and/or edit it in one of the countless available tools. There are also sites offering online animated favicon creation from the standard image (check out, discover “FavIcon from pics”, they will have a straightforward but neat scrolling text feature).
Should you be however a fellow do-it-yourselfer, then let’s elaborate and appearance at some techniques and beneficial tips:
So far as tools go: If you are a lucky owner of Adobe’s excellent Photoshop, you then also have a companion program called ImageReady. Linux customers have Gimp, an incredibly powerful and free graphics use that can easily handle animated GIF development. What many people have no idea is that Gimp is also available for free for Home windows and the Mac. Addititionally there is GIMPShop in the wild, which is a nifty GIMP release for the photoshop-inclined audience (did I mention free?). There are also many specialized GIF animation makers, some freeware, some not.

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