Should we show the file size of downloads linked on a web page?
For download sites (e.g. file hosting services), the answer is obviously yes. But what about websites that offer downloads only occasionally? So they don’t have a separate download page, they link directly to the files (inline). Think of …
- a blog post "I recorded my first song" (→ MP3)
- a company site "See our full product catalog" (→ PDF)
- a forum thread "Bugfix patch for Pacman" (→ ZIP)
- a Stack Exchange answer "Here is a screencast" (→ WEBM)
- Does it matter if the file will be downloaded vs. shown in browser?
- Only show it for files that are exceptionally big (e.g. a 10 MB PDF, a 3 MB JPG)? Exceptionally small (e.g. a 500 KB MP3), too?
- Exact vs. rounded file size?
- Only use one unit for all downloads (e.g. Megabyte only: 1 MB, 0.1 MB, 0.01 MB, 1280 MB)?
- Should the file size information be part of the linked text, or could it appear as unlinked text after/below the link?
- Should the file size information get a label or is it clear by context (thanks to using parenthesis and a file size unit?)?
- which units to use: Files size units: “KiB” vs “KB” vs “KB”
- when the download already started (browser’s download window): Alternatives to showing file size in a download?
- how to link downloads: Best way to link to PDFs/Word docs/etc?
- wording of the link: What is the most familiar wording of linking to a PDF file?