I have around 1000 configurable products on my site. They can be changed by options of colour or size. I have the images of the configurable products in all the different colours available. What would be the best approach to making these images appear when you change the the colour option on the site?
Activate an ajax request when you select an option from the dropdown. Use this request to fetch the new image from the server and append it to your page in the image div :)
There are a lot of extensions out there that do this. Just search for "magento color swatch".
But I will save you the trouble of searching and recommend you this free extension. It does what you need and has other features on the side. Full documentation can be found here.
just a few words:
- you can change the dropdowns to labels, colors, simple product images and even custom images. - you can set a default configuration for the configurable products to be selected when you open the page.
- you can show the out of stock simple products in the configurable products page. - you can change the image or the full media section when the you change one or more attribute values.