Optimising images for the web
When it comes to web design, optimising your images is an integral part of the user experience, and the overall success of the website.
Image optimisation in its most basic form is; compressing an image to the smallest size possible with it still looking good enough to publish on the web.
There are two main reasons to optimise images.
- The first reason we optimise is because of the effect this has when the images are downloaded. The load time of the majority websites is affected mainly by the time it takes to download images. By simply optimising the images you can reduce the time in which a page takes to load. With web speeds on the up it is vital your pages load as quickly as possible, our attention spans are decreasing, keep us waiting and we will get bored and find another, faster site. Spend the short amount of time it takes to optimise your images to avoid losing your audience to your competitors.
- The second reason is more likely to affect your pocket rather than your reputation… Most hosting packages will have bandwidth limits. If you go over this bandwidth, you can often get charged extra. Optimising images can help reduce your bandwidth, therefore reducing the likelihood of you having to dig deeper into your pockets.
There are lots of image editing packages out there which allow you to optimise images. These range from your high-end pieces of software such as Photoshop, down to your free options such as Pixlr. Most of these will come with pre-defined settings which will allow you to 'save to web' this will save the image at a lower quality which will still look good for the web and consequently reduce the size of the file.
Don’t panic though!
Just because the image is of a lower quality does not mean that the image will look bad on your website…
Image size: 52kb
Image size: 12kb
The image on the left hasn't been optimised for web and is still a file size of 52kb. The image on the right-hand side has been optimised to the smaller size of 12kb (therefore loads quicker) and has still kept the quality.