In vehicle suspension, what real-world differences are made when you adjust rebound, compression, preload, etc?

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When a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or any other wheeled vehicle has adjustable suspension, when should you adjust rebound damping and compression (high and low speed) damping? I understand preload is adjusted based on payload.

In: Engineering

Ride height, compression length (suspension moving downward), extension length (suspension moving upward, think a car going over a jump and the suspension extends), and firmness ( how harsh the ride is, think how stiff or plushy the ride is).