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Difference Between Interactive and Passive Graphics

Interactive vs Passive Graphics

Capabilities of computers nowadays allow for increased eye candy and better interactivity. This is often achieved by utilizing better graphics. There are two types of graphics that are used nowadays, interactive and passive. The main difference between interactive and passive graphics is what they do when the user does something. In passive graphics, the graphic does not do anything special when the user tries to interact with it. In interactive graphics, the graphics responds to what the user does to it. It can be as simple as changing colors when the user moves his mouse over it, or it can be a full-on graphic animation when the user clicks on it.

Interactive graphics give a new level of interactivity to a webpage. You can greatly reduce the number of loads that the user experiences and brings a more app-like feel to webpage. The primary downside to using interactive graphics is the addition to the size of the web page. This is not a problem for most people on a fast connection. But for those with slow connections, the page may load very slowly or not at all. The page can also come out incomplete and hard to interact with.

Interactive graphics are made via a combination of image editing and scripting. The image editing part is pretty straightforward, but the scripting may lead to some incompatibilities on the client’s computer. It may not support the scripting language used or it has an older version. The output may be affected and not appear or function as it would. Passive graphics have none of these problems. The image formats used online are pretty widespread and all modern browsers and even old browsers support these image formats.

Choosing between interactive graphics and passive graphics depends on whether you are aiming for simplicity or features. Interactive graphics are more entertaining than passive graphics but is also more difficult to deal with. Some sites choose a compromise by creating two versions for their site; one with interactive graphics, and another with passive graphics. The version with interactive graphics is the default one but users can opt for the one with passive graphics if he wants to.


  1. Interactive graphics respond to what the user does while passive graphics don’t
  2. Interactive graphics are often more bandwidth hungry than passive graphics
  3. Interactive graphics are more prone to problems than passive graphics

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