Appropriate use

When, where and why to use graphics on B.C. government websites.

Web graphics

Web graphics are image files such as photos, pictures, info-graphics, and charts. They include GIF, JPG, PNG, and PDF file types. 

Appropriate use

When used appropriately, graphics can increase the chances that your audience will want to read and understand your content. 

To achieve this, use graphics only when there is a clear need or obvious benefit to your audience.

If a graphic adds no value and serves no clear purpose, it shouldn't be used. 

Questions to ask

Answer the following questions before using images in web pages:

  • What tangible benefit does the image bring to your audience?
  • Are these benefits worth the cost to bandwidth, page clutter etc.?
  • Is the content and message just as effective without the image?
  • Would white space be as effective as an image for the reader?
  • Is readability of page content improved in any way with the image?
  • Is accessibility reduced in any way by using the image?
  • Does the image convey information that can only be understood visually?
  • Will the image make it easier for your audience to make a decision?
  • Has consent been obtained for any images (photos) of people?
  • Do you have copyright permission to use the image?
  • Has the image been optimized for display on the web?
  • Is the image accessible, with ample contrast, clarity and tagging?

What to avoid

  • Never embed text in an image unless the text is also written on the page
  • Never use images that are low quality, blurry or inappropriate
  • Never use screen captures unless they have been professionally created
  • Never use images that haven't been optimized for the web
  • Never use images that have file size larger than 250KB
  • Never use custom images for navigation elements in CMS Lite, such as Call to Action buttons, 'back to top' buttons or other custom bullets.