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

A favicon will be that little image that most browsers display on the handle brand and in the favorites (bookmarks) menu. Tabbed browsers like Firefox and Opera prolong the efficiency of favicons, adding them with their tabs. The brand was coined based on Internet Explorer (the initial browser to aid it) and derives from “Favorites Icon”. Each browser has a unique user interface, and for that reason uses the favicon in different ways. The favicon allows a company to further promote its identity and graphic by displaying a logo design, a graphical message, etc. Generally, the favicon reflects the appearance 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 pictures. They are used because in some locations a 16×16 pixel picture is desired, and oftentimes a 32×32 image may be needed. Sometimes a 16 coloring image is desired, and in some cases a 256 color icon is desired.
You probably already knew all the above.
But did you know Firefox can exhibit animated favicons? If you don’t believe me, open Firefox and go to my site, (there should be a link at the bottom of the article). if you don’t have Firefox, download it, it’s a “must have” and you will quickly love the simplicity and capability of tabbed browsing. Even if you aren’t a designer but just a site owner, in today’s environment you absolutely must know how your site looks in all browsers. You would believe that all websites should look the same, but as browsers become more diverse and much more sophisticated, standards are not respected and things will get messy. For example, I just discovered that several pages on my web site don’t look as expected in the most recent version of Opera and should be adjusted.
Ok, I hope by now you noticed my animated favicon in Firefox and returned to the article for more information about it…
The main reason why you can observe animated favicons in Firefox is basically because Firefox abolished the proprietary ICO file format in favor of the opportunity to display any supported image file format in the favicon location, like BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG and… animated GIFs.
So now you know the big solution, the animated favicon is nothing but a tiny animated GIF.
Here is a very neat trick, that may actually be used to visualize how any picture looks like as a 16×16 pixel icon – once you start designing among those, you will realize that it is extremely hard to produce a legible image on a 16 square pixels canvas:
Find any page with any graphic you are interested in. Right click on the image and chose “View Photo” from the dialog. A blank page should display with your chosen image and surprise: you can view a miniature 16×16 backup of the impression as a favicon! Uhh… do I must mention again that people are doing all of this in Firefox?
A hacker’s mind will immediately think of how great it will be to utilize this feature as a transformation tool. Unfortunately, unlike Internet Explorer and Opera, Firefox doesn’t shop FavIcons in .ico files, the icons are stored in an encoded format directly in the bookmark file.
You can apply the same principle to animated GIFs and you will notice that a miniature type of the animation also plays in the tackle bar and on the tabs.
Perhaps one of the main reasons why you don’t see that many sites using animations is usually browser compatibility. Animated favicons aren’t treated at all by Internet Explorer. A static image will never be extracted from the animation often. Instead, the default .htm icon (as defined in Windows’ filetypes) will be placed directly under one’s Favorites – once added, that is. The animations are not backed by Netscape, Opera, Konqueror, Safari; at least so it seems during this writing. The Firefox relatives seems to be the only friend to animations, however as browsers evolve, broader help for animation will most likely come along (or, the idea will die).
So, why not benefit from this *today* and ‘beat the rush’?
Basically, this is how it’s done:
1. You create a 16×16 animated GIF.
2. You upload the animated GIF to the “root” of your 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 photo” wise.
If you don’t feel too creative or simply don’t possess time and/or patience, an established professional design firm (such as Bsleek) will be able to make a nice animated favicon for you personally. Another choice – I don’t endorse it, as your goal should be to excel through unique content material and push your own image out there – would be to find one of the numerous galleries online and possibly download a all set made animated favicon or take a large animated GIF and resize it and/or edit it in another of the countless available tools. There are also sites offering online animated favicon creation from the standard image (check out, find “FavIcon from pics”, they will have a simple but neat scrolling text feature).
When you are however a fellow do-it-yourselfer, in that case let’s elaborate and look at some techniques and useful tips:
So far as tools go: If you are a lucky operator of Adobe’s excellent Photoshop, you then also have a companion use called ImageReady. Linux users have Gimp, a remarkably powerful and free graphics application that can easily handle animated GIF design. What many people have no idea is that Gimp can be available for free for House windows and the Mac. Addititionally there is GIMPShop in the wild, that is a nifty GIMP variation for the photoshop-inclined market (did I mention free?). Additionally, there are many specialized GIF animation manufacturers, some freeware, some not.

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