There are many Telugu web sites and some Telugu blogs that post their text in the form of images. The purpose of this post is to (1) see why anyone would post their text content as images and (2) the drawbacks of such practice.
So, firstly, the reasons for posting text content in the form of images.
They use proprietary encoding schemes and they fear that if they post content as text, their visitors may not see it in Telugu. That is true. Because, the font to support this proprietary encoding should be present in the visitors’ machine. And, the site owners cannot offer those fonts as downloads (the terms of the font license do not allow it) or as web fonts (license terms do not allow embedding or the sites do not have technical knowledge to do it).
Some might even feel they need to manually type their content in Unicode to post on the web. They might not know that there are tools to convert text from proprietary encoding to Unicode. If they are using encoding very specialized for them (news papers, mostly), they may need to write their own convertor.
- No knowledge of Unicode: This might also be a reason in some cases. Even if they do not know about Unicode, they just can use any of Unicode Telugu typing tools.
- Even if the site owners/maintainers know about Unicode, they think that the look and feel is not good enough and/or they want use other styles like shadows, etc. There is some merit in this concern. There are not many good looking Telugu fonts for Unicode. Not many people are aware of free and open Lohit Telugu font. And, about being able to use colors and shadows, now-a-days with modern browsers supporting CSS3, all is possible. In the case of bloggers, they just only need some basic HTML and CSS knowledge to be able to apply styles to their text.
These are what I think the reasons why people post text content as images. If you are one of them, let me know (if there are other reasons than above) why you post text as images even barring the below mentioned disadvantages.
Disadvantages of posting text content as images
To the site owners/maintainers:
- It is double work to generate an image, then upload it, and use it in the site/blog. Instead, it is easier to directly type text or copy-paste it.
- Images take more storage space and bandwidth. So, your site might take forever to load in slower connections. And, if your hosting charges are based on storage space or bandwidth consumed, it costs you more (and even more in the long run).
- Search engines cannot index text in images (especially Telugu text, as there is no good OCR for Telugu). So, your site will not show up in searches. You may be missing the potential visitors and clients.
- You cannot take advantage of the things like web feeds and auto-updates to social networking sites, etc. as these are text based.
Inconvenience to the users of the site:
- Users cannot find content on your site (either via search engines or your own site search, if you have one). Please note that users do not remember URLs and your site might have thousands of pages. Even if users locate the page somehow, they cannot find that sentence they are looking for using the ‘search in page’ feature of their web browser. It basically means failure.
- Users cannot easily quote a piece of text from your site/blog. If you provide your content as text, they can easily copy-paste a sentence two to add their comment on it on their blog or other fourm. If you provide as an image, they need to type it out themselves. So, they may not bother doing it. You lose some exposure.
- Images cost bandwidth for site users too. Though it not a big concern with broadband and unlimited plans, it still matters on slower connections and limited bandwidth plans.
Though I hinted alternatives inline, I will write a separate post explaining them further.