5 Best Practices of Image Management

According to Hubspot.com, if your content contains visuals then your audience can retain almost 65% of that information even after three days. The popularity of using a combination of text and image is growing enormously in the digital content. But managing images on your website & app involve a lot of tasks: clicking pictures, editing, resizing as per layout, optimizing and delivering them to end visitors as fast as possible. And if you want to provide a great user experience then you must pay attention to each stage.

So, let’s explore the five best practices of image management:

Simplify Image Workflow

A typical e-commerce website displays hundreds and thousands of product images every day. Every organization has different procedure from the creation of images to uploading them to CMS. Many times, designers and developers spend time creating multiple size variants of the same image for different website sections. If often happens that someone from Marketing team uploads a big size image that degrades the user experience. The key is:

URL-based image resizing

Given hundreds of different devices and multiple image formats, it only makes sense to simplify image resizing. It is possible by real-time image manipulation. This image management practice saves a lot of precious time of developers and also, simplify the workflow.

Check out how ImageKit.io simplified the workflow of Purplle.com and you will get to know the real-time image transformations in detail.

Optimize Your Website Images

Not every visitor is on a high-speed internet. Given flaky internet connection on mobile devices, it’s our responsibility to cater content for varying user’s connection speed. Some of the common image handling problems are doing browser side resizing, using images for a button background, using the same image size across all platforms, and not setting proper caching headers in the response. To avoid these problems, you should be familiar with the appropriate image optimization techniques.

Optimizing your website and app images include choosing the right type of image format, using smaller Kbs images by reducing the size, image compression, and using responsive pictures as per the different platforms. Always select the best image format (JPEG, PNG, GIF) and do proper image resizing as per the platforms. Do not depend on browsers to resize your website images. You can use various plugins to optimize your website images, or you can go for real-time image optimization.

Handle the Loading of Broken Images

Nobody likes broken things be it your phone, a glass vase or a photo frame. So, don’t expect your visitors to tolerate something like below:

A sample page with broken images

A sample page with broken images

When your site has thousands of pictures, it is very likely that over a period of time some images doesn’t exist anymore. And when the same images are delivered to your users, they appear as broken images which spoils the whole user experience. To handle the loading of broken images, you can try some techniques such as removing such images from the database, using ‘onerror’ attribute of the <img> tag and handing it on your image server.

Removing the broken images from your database requires one-time effort, but if your website has millions of pictures, it can get very tricky. If you are implementing ‘onerror’ in your <img> tag, it doesn’t need any periodic checks. But this trick doesn’t work for the images which are used as website backgrounds. Also, multiple versions of scripts are required for different platforms. Handing broken images on the image server is an effective method as it works for all type of pictures and it doesn’t need any checks. But, it also holds some demerits. To implement it, you need to build a server which can handle the rerouting of images.

The best image management practice to handle the loading of broken images is using a third party image server such as ImageKit.io. It saves you from building your own server which can be very costly and time consuming for you. ImageKit uses URL-based transformations and provides server-side handling to prevent loading of non-existent images.

Use HTTP/2 instead of HTTP/1.1

HTTP/2 has significantly replaced the HTTP/1.1. The HTTP/1.1 protocol was widely used earlier. But as the use of images has increased over the time thus, in turn, evolving the size of a web page, the HTTP/2 protocol came into existence. HTTP/2 protocol can help you in making your website faster, thus increasing the user engagement & conversions. It is widely supported by all servers and browsers.

Duplication of data, allowing one outstanding request per TCP were some of the apparent shortcomings of HTTP/1. On the other hand, to solve these problems, HTTP/2 allows using same TCP connection for multiple parallel requests and provides features like server push & header compression using HPACK. Read our blog post for a detailed comparison between HTTP/2 and HTTP/1.1 performance.

Use Progressive JPEG

In progressive JPEG image loading, when a web page loads, first, a low-quality full image is rendered, and then, more pixels are added to it. On the other hand, in baseline loading pattern, image loading starts from the top, rendering a single row at a time and then gradually moves towards the bottom, thus loading the full image. In such case, users who are keen to explore your product images have to wait for the loading of an entire image. This type of method disgrace the user experience and is not recommended for the websites.

Progressive JPEG Image Loading

Diagram illustrating Baseline vs Progressive JPEG loading.
Image Source: webperformancetoday.com

Thus, progressive JPEG image loading is a modern-day approach to achieve the best image management practices. Using progressive JPEG on your websites improves the user experience by loading the full image quickly as compared to the top-down loading method.

It is essential to use the right type of images and the right size & dimensions of graphics as per the different devices. Otherwise, you may end up with a slow website and massive bandwidth consumption. Effective image management is a solution to all these problems.

These best practice of image management will help you in achieving a smooth and efficient process to handle all your website images. By following the recommended methods, you can create a streamlined image management system for uploading, optimizing, transforming, resizing, storing and delivering all your images. ImageKit.io provides all image management solutions on the go and helps you in simplifying your workflow and improving your website experience. Sign up for free to get access to core features set of all our services.