Preload :hover images in CSS

Now that the majority of CSS blogosphere is accessing the Internet with some kind of broadband connection, we kind of forget about Dial-up users. We do all kind of trickery to make our images lighter and faster to download, but even though, sometimes the first time visitor gets the flicker when hovering a link with a background image.

Most of the time, pixy’s workaround with a single image, which is positioned accordingly will do, but sometimes for whatever reason, we need completely separate images. Preloading background images with CSS is so cheap trick, that I sometimes laugh at myself how could I forget about it.

a { background: url(image_hover.gif); }
a:link { background: url(image_default.gif); }
a:focus { background: url(image_hover.gif); }


The code example was rather generic, now it’s altered for those who are in a hurry : ) and have no time to read through valuable discussion in the comments.

Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

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