Limitations of Internet Explorer
For some strange reason, Microsoft has refused (or just not bothered) to support transparent images within Internet Explorer. If you are still using Internet Explorer, then I strongly recommend that you upgrate to Firefox, its easy to download, just click and follow the instructions.
Which Web Pages Use Transparent Images?
Most of my pages use transparent image for the icons (such as the logo in the top left of the web page). However my Family Album web application uses transparent images very heavily.
Each of the small images are partially transparent to make them circular. There is now way to achieve this effect with internet explorer v6 and lower.
Why Do I Insist on using Transparent Images?
Apart from the Family Album application, and the games, I could do without transparent images, but I still use them. Why?
Internet Explorer is the dominant browser, but I don't think that's a good reason to stop using transparent images. If web designers like me continue to avoid transparent images, then there is no reason for Microsoft to fix their broken browser, and there is no reason for you to upgrade to a good browser such as Firefox.
Transparent images make my web site look good, so if you insist on using an inferior browser, then you'll just have to imagine how good this site should look!
Why I Advise People to Shun Internet Explorer
IE used to be the best browser, but that's no longer the case. Comparing IE with today's Open Source browsers, IE has fewer features and is more vulnerable to attacks (from viruses, trojans, phishing etc). There really isn't any good reason to stick with IE. Once you get used to using FireFox, you will wonder why you put up with IE for so long.
IE does support transparent gifs, but gifs are limited to 256 colours - which makes them useless for realistic images. Firefox (and many other good browsers) support gifs and pngs. png (pronounced "ping") is the modern replacement for the outdated gif. The gif is dead, long live the png.
Here's a great demo of transparent pngs.
UPDATE: IE7 now supports transparent pngs. Well done microsoft, only 5 years late - not bad!