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

A favicon can be that little image that most browsers display on the handle brand and in the favorites (bookmarks) menus. Tabbed browsers like Firefox and Opera prolong the operation of favicons, adding them to their tabs. The brand was coined predicated on Internet Explorer (the initial browser to support it) and derives from “Favorites Icon”. Each browser has a unique user interface, and as a result uses the favicon in different ways. The favicon allows an organization to further promote its identity and graphic by displaying a logo, a graphical message, etc. Usually, the favicon reflects the look and feel of the web site or the organization’s logo.
A traditional favicon is actually a Microsoft Windows ICO file. An ICO file is actually a repository of bitmap like images. They are used because in a few locations a 16×16 pixel image is desired, and occasionally a 32×32 image may be needed. Sometimes a 16 colour image is desired, and quite often a 256 color icon is desired.
You probably already knew each of the above.
But did you know that Firefox can screen animated favicons? Unless you trust me, open Firefox and head to my site, bsleek.com (there must be a link in the bottom of the article). if you don’t have Firefox, download it, it is a “must have” and you will quickly love the simplicity and capability of tabbed browsing. Even though you are not 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 more sophisticated, standards are not respected and things will get messy. For example, I simply discovered that several pages on my webpage don’t look needlessly to say in the most recent version of Opera and have to be adjusted.
Ok, I hope by now you observed my animated favicon in Firefox and came back to the article to learn more 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 ability to display any supported image format in the favicon location, like BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG and… animated GIFs.
So now you understand 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 graphic looks like as a 16×16 pixel icon – as soon as you start designing among those, you will realize that it is very hard to make a legible image on a 16 square pixels canvas:
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Find any page with any graphic you are interested in. Right click on the image and chose “View Impression” from the dialog. A blank web page should display with your chosen image and surprise: you can view a miniature 16×16 copy of the graphic as a favicon! Uhh… carry out I have to mention again that people are doing all of this in Firefox?
A hacker’s mind will immediately think about how great it could be to use this feature as a change tool. Unfortunately, unlike Internet Explorer and Opera, Firefox doesn’t retail outlet FavIcons in .ico documents, the icons are stored within an encoded format straight in the bookmark file.
You can apply exactly the same principle to animated GIFs and you may notice that a miniature release of the animation also 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 aren’t treated at all by Internet Explorer. A static image will never be extracted from the animation either. As an alternative, the default .htm icon (as defined in Windows’ filetypes) will undoubtedly 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 household seems to be the only friend to animations, but as browsers evolve, broader assistance for animation will probably come along (or, the idea will die).
So, why not benefit from this *now* and ‘beat the rush’?
Basically, this is one way 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 image” wise.
If you don’t feel too creative or simply don’t possess time and/or patience, a reputable professional design firm (such as Bsleek) will be able to create a nice animated favicon for you. Another choice – I don’t endorse it, as your goal should be to excel through unique information and push your personal image out there – would be to find one of the many 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 another of the many available tools. There also are sites offering online animated favicon creation from the standard image (check out chami.com, find “FavIcon from pics”, they will have a straightforward but neat scrolling text feature).
When you are however a fellow do-it-yourselfer, subsequently let’s elaborate and appearance at some techniques and valuable tips:
As far as tools go: If you’re a lucky owner of Adobe’s excellent Photoshop, then you also have a companion use called ImageReady. Linux consumers have Gimp, an incredibly powerful and free graphics use that may easily handle animated GIF design. What many people don’t know is that Gimp is also available for free for Home windows and the Mac. Addititionally there is GIMPShop in the wild, that is a nifty GIMP type for the photoshop-inclined viewers (did I mention free?). Additionally, there are many specialized GIF animation makers, some freeware, some not.