I was sensitive to that issue, which is why I suggested that clickable thumbnail. It seems to give your server a break and give the user and viewer the benifit of immediate access to a highly detailed picture.
Though I can see how putting too many in your signature might defeat the purpose. Do you need us to limit the thumbnails to two or one?
We could use your input
This is really not a server issue for us as the images are being served up directly from photo bucket. So we have zero impact at our server. I really like the idea of using graphics that are already thumbnails, it lowers the filesizes and can really decrease page load times for the users who are still on dial up.
That leaves two issues of concern, number of requests a user's browser has to make to load a page, and then of course the page real estate. The most important here in context of what you have already done being the real estate.
The number of requests a browser has to make is a slowing factor. It just means the browser has to make (in your case) three requests to photobucket's server. That is relatively low impact as they have very high speed servers that respond quickly, and you are using thumbnailws which can be served very quickly. In an extreme case (10 posts, three thumbnails each in the sigs) that would be thirty requests that had to be fulfilled from photobucket to render the page here on the clinic. Is it possible to create a composite of the three in one photo? I don't know what features photobucket offers, so really just asking on that one. Then potentially link the three as one photo back to an album instead of a single photo?
If this is not doable, the use of thumbnails certainly offsets the normal filesize we see around here for the larger pics. So this is fine tuning exercise more than anything else.
The real estate is a little bigger issue. The majority of our users are using 1024 X 768 screens. But we still have some users that are using 800x600. The clinic is really too big for those screens, but with patience they can navigate our pages. If we could find a way to align the thumbnails horizontally, that would considerably reduce the number of screens high some of our pages in the forum are. Is that possible with our tools here? I haven't tried, so again, just don't know.
You have put a lot of work into a very good solution for our members Jhouse. Your input on these questions would be really helpful.