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14:14 Use Thumbnail Images to Preview Larger Images

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14:14 Use Thumbnail Images to Preview Larger Images

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 2 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Graphics and Images


When viewing full-size images is not critical, first provide a thumbnail of the image.


By providing thumbnails of larger images, users can decide whether they want to wait for the full image to load. By using thumbnails, those who do not need or want to see the full image are not slowed down by large image downloads. Link the thumbnail image to the full-size copy.


  • Levine, R. (1996). Guide to Web Style. Sun Microsystems.
  • Nielsen, J. & Tahir, M. (2002). Homepage Usability: 50 Sites Deconstructed. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Publishing.

Good Example:

When one of the thumbnail images is clicked on the left, a new window pops up with a larger image and a brief description. This also offers a high resolution jpg file of the same image.


Related Usability Guidelines: