The Definitive Guide to Choosing the Right Image Optimization Solution for Your Business
by Scott Saunders-Singer There are plenty of CDN solutions out there that provide bolt-on image optimization. These third-party tools often fail to deliver the best image optimization and further complicate integration and coding. Generally, these tools solve only a portion of the image optimization process (e.g. compression). They do not provide a comprehensive or elegant solution for the complex problems posed by images. Therefore, they fall short of delivering the best possible image optimization.
Mobile Devices Pose a Challenge for Image Optimization
I’m not saying these bolt-on tools are not any good. What I’m saying is that the types of devices coming to your website has changed dramatically over the last few years. The biggest percentage of devices surfing websites today are mobile smartphones and tablets. This complicates image optimization considerably. It is also why Google now only cares about the mobile user experience on your website when it indexes and provides search engine rankings.
Limitations of Many Image Optimization Solutions
The limitations of adding image optimization might include:
- Requires large amounts of responsive code bloat to select, serve images. This counteracts data payload reduction benefits of image optimization.
- Requires setting and maintaining breakpoints for selecting images.
- Complicates image workflow for graphics and front-end developers, taking time away from more strategic tasks.
- Unnecessarily increases storage requirements by 6X because of growth in image derivatives.
- Increased maintenance to stay abreast of new image formats. Lower pagespeed score; no support for next gen image formats.
- No device detection to ensure right device and support of image formats.
- Potentially decreased image quality when mismatching images to devices.
Why It’s Important To Choose Your Own Solution
Image optimization is a complex topic, so why waste your time on buying an after-thought solution, or a sub-par image compression tool.
Image optimization requires a comprehensive solution that addresses all the potential pitfalls of image optimization and web performance. To use a metaphor, look at your site like as if you were managing a fleet of vehicles used to transport your product. If you’re moving a truck-load of wheat through a mountain range, there needs to be someone that provides a proper methodology for getting that wheat to the other side. There are lots of variables that need to be considered. For example, the type of vehicle, the engine size, the size of the vehicle, how wide is the road, the height of the mountain range the wheat will travel, the distance from the top of the mountain to the wheat, the number of turns the vehicle has to travel. Effectively transporting that truck is impossible to calculate without this data. The same holds true for image optimization and information about the requesting device.
What Parameters are Needed for Great Image Optimization?
For an image CDN, the common differentiator that drives superior performance is Mobile Device Detection. Device Detection enables the image CDN to address shortcomings that other solution face.
For example, an image compression tool needs to set breakpoints and code to deliver its estimate of a right-sized image. Frequently, these breakpoints leave a lot of room for uncaptured optimization. In addition, compression settings need to calibrate to some mid-size device between breakpoints. This compression might not take into account pixel density ratios and display resolution differences on various smartphones.
In addition, changing image formats to a more efficient file type complicates the image workflow. A compression tool may convert to new formats like WebP, but this dramatically increases the number of image derivatives. It also requires developers to deploy responsive image code to select the new format. This increases the complexity of code required to select an appropriate image format for a particular device type/browser.
Finally, dynamically leveraging device detection to adjust in real-time is a challenge. Frequently, solutions that have low-quality device detection settle for static resizing to preset sizes and formats. And then, all these images need to be uploaded.
How Does ImageEngine Work Differently than Other Image Optimization Solutions?
ImageEngine has the industry-leading WURFL mobile device detection built into its edge network. That means the instant a smartphone requests your website, the CDN knows exactly what size, compression, and image format to serve. And since it caches your image variants on its edge servers automatically, ImageEngine can serve images faster than a compression tool that has to go all the way back to the origin. ImageEngine offers dynamic storing, image management, proactive device detection, image real-time resizing, compression, format conversion, and a CDN. All in one seamless, automatic, and optimal solution.
If you’re looking for a proactive and dynamic image optimization solution to help with Core Web Vitals, choosing next-gen images automatically, reducing payload of up to 80% where only one original image copy is required, save your time as no images need to be uploaded and give you full control to set the desired resolution quality for each and every image. ImageEngine is simply, faster than its competitors, more cost effective, quicker return on investment and you only pay for the optimized bytes used.
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