Should Webcomics Still Cater to 56k Dial-up Limits?

I’ve been thinking about whether webtoonists are still concerned about the limitations of 56k dial-up connections anymore. Broadband is much more widely available (if not used) than it was even just 2 years ago. Several webcomics, (including this one) routinely break the 100k per image barrier (back in the old skool day 50k images were pushing it). I’ve been on broadband since mid-1999 so dialup is a distant memory but isn’t 100k kind of sloooow on a dial-up connection?

Looks like Rocketbox has been discussing this too.

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.


  1. I suppose it depends on your individual goals. So long as the bandwidth is well used and not just a matter of someone not optimizing their work for display on the web, I don’t generally have a problem with it. You do trade off some potential readers that are still on 56k, but this number is decreasing all the time. Based on the stats I see at my own site, I think I’m catering to the majority when I cater to broadband.

    An addendum to this topic: should we be designing for 800×600 still, or is 1024×768 reasonable to do at this point? (I know, I know, you actually get a bit less screen real estate than this once you accound for the space the browser takes up, but generally speaking.)

  2. For now, yes – 56k all the way. Why? Because it’s REALLY common, and why alienate readers if you don’t have too? In a month, I’m moving somewhere without broadband access, and know that the lovely Meaghan Quinn has been on 56k forever and a half. As is her husband Damonk in Canada right now.

    That’s three people I know with 56k just off the top of my head. So I’d like to believe that there’s a need to keep our file sizes down. Plus, you know, bandwidth costs…

  3. I still make my comics easy downloads for 56k modem users, as the majority of americans are still using dial up. If a comic is aimed at tech snobs or college kids, the pressure is much less to keep file sizes low. But I will vary my image size depending on the image, though I try to keep it around 50-70.

    As for screen size- I’ve noticed a distint drift towards 1045 screen size- you’ll find that some sites are annoying in lower resolutions. I’m on a 800×600 computer while working right now and the comixpedia site is a pain in the butt. But since fewer and fewer people with good eyesight are using 800×600, and more and more and using even greater resolutions, it makes it hard to justify making things small enough for 800 that will look tiny in far greater resolutions. The thing to do with website design is make everything in percentages to expand and contract in different sizes- and to make images no bigger than 750 in width, or 570 in height, with scrolling in either direction, but not both.

    -Meaghan, not logged in.

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