Combine your background images into a single image and use the CSS properties to display the desired image segment.Image maps combine multiple images into a single image.The overall size is about the same, but reducing the number of HTTP requests speeds up the page.
Defining the coordinates of image maps can be tedious and error prone.
Using image maps for navigation is not accessible too, so it's not recommended.
Inline images use the URL scheme to embed the image data in the actual page. Combining inline images into your (cached) stylesheets is a way to reduce HTTP requests and avoid increasing the size of your pages.
Inline images are not yet supported across all major browsers.
Reducing the number of HTTP requests in your page is the place to start.
This is the most important guideline for improving performance for first time visitors.As described in Tenni Theurer's blog post Browser Cache Usage - Exposed!, 40-60% of daily visitors to your site come in with an empty cache.tag: content 80% of the end-user response time is spent on the front-end.Most of this time is tied up in downloading all the components in the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc.Reducing the number of components in turn reduces the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. One way to reduce the number of components in the page is to simplify the page's design.