Optimizing Images | What is image optimization and how to do it?

Images are necessary to enhance the look of a website. As we all know that visuals create a lasting impact in an individual’s mind, the presence of images is sure factor to attract potential visitors and customers. But there are a lot of other things going on behind the scenes so as to ensure that relevant images are displayed. First of all, the website developers need to keep in mind the count and quality of the pictures that are required. If the size is too huge, it won’t allow a web page to get downloaded properly. This in turn will repel whoever visits which is opposite to what is expected in general. Following are the methods which help optimizing images without losing quality so that a site functions properly.

optimizing images

Types of Image Optimization

Right dimensions: The width and height of imagery are important since these affect the overall size. For instance, if a blog is 800 pixels wide, its images should not be more than that. Popular CMS sites, such as WordPress, facilitate reducing the image explicitly if somebody has to attach it with some written blog contents, else one has to first make it smaller and then use it for website development.

Adjustment of image to improve size: The image can be adjusted in such a way that the quality remains and its download is not hampered. The more details it contains the more space it would require. It could be provided with effects like black and white, gradient maps, overlays etc. This significantly minimizes the loading time if these methods are regularly put into practice.

Choosing the right file types: One must be aware of the right file type based on the requirement. The most popular ones are JPG, PNG, and GIF whose average image requests for websites are 45%, 28%, and 23% respectively. One may also use the popular SVG file for vector images which is resolution independent and smaller in size. It can also be easily manipulated with CSS. Another file type WebP introduced by Google has gained popularity lately. It is a smaller alternative to JPG and PNG file extensions.

Responsive images: We all know that responsiveness is a must-have factor because most users use mobile phones these days. The images should be successfully loaded with ultimate flexibility and fluidity. SVG file types provide great ways to adjust photos regardless of screen size since they are resolution independent.

Image compression: Compression also reduces the size. It can be done after setting the right file type and dimensions. If you use Photoshop to make changes, do not forget to use “Save for Web” while exporting files. In case of Sketch, download a plugin for image optimization. There are other external tools to get the job done, such as TinyPNG, ImageOptim, imagemin etc. to resolve the same matter with different approach.

Advanced Loading Techniques

This is considered particularly in case of image-heavy websites in order to cut-short the loading time that would have otherwise caused severe compromise in terms of loading itself and potential visitors.

Progressive JPGs – They differ from the standard JPGs in the way they load. Progressive JPGs do not load from top to bottom, instead load at a lower resolution and elevate their quality only after the page gets entirely loaded. It provides a good user experience since there is no empty space.

Lazy loading – It is one of the most popular techniques that is in use today. The websites that have to be very graphical in appearance and also essentially require to load faster opt for this method. In this case the images are only loaded if they are required. For instance, websites like pinterest.com loads the images of the above part initially; the image of the middle and lower region are viewed only when the user scrolls down purposefully.

Blur-up technique – It displays the images in their blurred form unless the page is completely loaded. The image too is entirely displayed with the existing quality but not before other important factors, such as text contents of the web page.

All of them are the latest ones and followed with an intention to keep up the site’s functionality. It is possible that one method might be suitable in a particular case and other methods for another. Try above types of image optimization and see for yourself whether these work in your case or not.

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