Is it so that you can't steal the image or is there more to this? I personally prefer seeing the full resolution image at once instead of trying to analyse a small image with a magnifying glass.

There are many but I don't remember which sites. This is one but it's not as bad as others that show much smaller preview window, click to zoom:


  • Can you provide an example?
    – Hynes
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 2:01
  • I added one....
    – Joan Venge
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 2:25
  • That example has gone dead. Do you mean that the website provides images of portions of the product? Or that it provides a low res image with a magnifying glass that lets you see larger portions? like this amazon link Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 15:33
  • Thanks, yeah that's exactly what I mean. I don't get this design. Why not just allow to click the image to see the full image then I can study the details and decide if I want to buy it or not. I assume most online purchases are done on a computer not a smartphone, and this design was older than before smartphones became popular I think.
    – Joan Venge
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


Your question is made of two, so let's try to answer both.

  • Why do some websites only allow you to see low resolution images?

This is, usually, due to two reasons, one is saving bandwith, a low resolution image uses less than a full resolution, so you can serve more pages more efficiently, and may be even cheaper. Then, some offer the high resolution one if you want to see it, this way, only people who really want to see that image, and most probably is really interested on the product will see, and then, the site is only expending resources on clients who are most probable potential buyers.

Second reason, is not stealing the image.

  • Why do some websites only allow you to see a fragment of the image?

This is much less common than it should be.

A lot of times, products are identical to other similar ones, except for a small part, so showing you the whole image is not helping to see what is different, but showing you a close-up of the different part help to capture your interest and imagination. It may also be that the company is focusing the promotion on that specific area/aspect of the image, or the rest of the image is not really relevant for a first impression.

It also saves bandwith since they are already showing what people are interested on and only a few would like to see the whole picture.

Of course some times there are other reasons, it depends on the owner of the company, the designer, and all the people involved.

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