BoxTop Software SuperGIF 1.5

by Joe Gillespie — Jul 1, 2001

Go into any consumer electronics store and observe the buying habits of the general public. See how they walk up and down the aisles of hi-fi and video equipment looking ever-so-closely at the merchandise. Chances are, they will buy a hi-fi purely on the way it looks and a video recorder on the number of features it boasts. The prime decision-making factor here is 'buttons-per-buck'. The fact that they never get to understand, or use, a fraction of the 'features' is irrelevant.

Then go into a high end hi-fi specialists shop. The first thing you will notice is that the equipment costs considerably more - and has less knobs. Then you will also be aware that people are doing comparative tests of the sound of the equipment in sound-proof demonstration booths.

One thing you will learn from this study is that quality and button-count are unrelated. The more knowledgeable people are in their subject, the less impressed they are with featuritus and the more discerning they are about what they are buying.

Unfortunately, consumer electronics and computer software are very close cousins and the same buying factors prevail. The 'consumer marketing' of software products means that ‘feature count’ takes higher precedence than quality, usability and end results. The bigger the software company, the guiltier they are.

Boxtop Software is a small company that's been producing clever little Web graphics utilities for years now. Maybe not as well known as Macromedia and Adobe but the have their loyal fans people who actually care about the quality of their work.

If you are looking for 'features' in BoxTop's SuperGIF, you will be severely disappointed. If you like lots of menus, dialog boxes and palettes, then tough luck! SuperGIF has virtually no interface, just a very simple preferences dialog, so there is no learning curve. Just drop your 'best-shot–at-optimisation' GIF file from Photoshop on top of the SuperGIF icon and the file size will shrink by up to 70% almost instantly. That's it! No user selectable background music, no spinning clocks - just a smaller GIF.

Now, the one place where the comparison with high-end hi-fi falls down is that you don't have to pay high prices. At $29.95 for Mac or PC versions, the 'buttons-per-buck' factor may be very low - but you do get the best GIF optimisation tool there is.

BoxTop SuperGIF 1.5
Features red bar85%
Ease of Use yellow bar99%
Value for Money green bar90%
'Must Have' Factor blue bar95%
Manufacturer BoxTop Software
Price $29.95 for Mac or PC
Summary Simply the best GIF optimisation tool.
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