Cloudinary Blog

Learn how to choose the best image format for your use case
JPEGs, PNGs, and GIFs — oh my! Most web developers only learn which format to use through trial, error, and long experience, and not necessarily by fully understanding how these formats actually work.
 
In this article, we’ll take a high-level look at each formats’ compression algorithms, in order to understand how their differing strategies make them more or less appropriate for different kinds of images. Then, we’ll tour a few next-generation image formats (like WebP and JPEG-XR) and see how we can use smart servers to take advantage of these powerful (but not yet universally-supported) formats, today.
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Responsive Images Guide, Part 1: What does it mean for an image to be “responsive”?

“Responsive.” Where did that term come from, anyways?

In his sea-changing essay, Responsive Web Design, Ethan Marcotte explained:

Recently, an emergent discipline called “responsive architecture” has begun asking how physical spaces can respond to the presence of people passing through them. Through a combination of embedded robotics and tensile materials, architects are experimenting with art installations and wall structures that bend, flex, and expand as crowds approach them. … rather than creating immutable, unchanging spaces … inhabitant and structure can—and should—mutually influence each other.

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Automatically deliver the best image format to the browser

One of the main optimization challenges for website and mobile developers is how to display sufficiently high quality images to their visitors while minimizing the image file size. A smaller image file size can lead to faster load times, reduced bandwidth costs and an improved user experience. The problem is that reducing the file size too much may lead to a lower image quality and could harm visitor satisfaction. Delivering an optimized image with just the right balance between size and quality can be quite tricky.

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Three different ways to do progressive JPEG encoding

There are two different kinds of JPEG images: progressive JPEGs and non-progressive JPEGs. These categories have nothing to do with the JPEGs’ political beliefs. They’re all about the order in which they’ve been encoded.

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Using smart-cropping for automatic art direction

Note: this article was originally published in Smashing Magazine.

Four years ago, Jason Grigsby asked a surprisingly difficult question: How do you pick responsive images breakpoints? A year later, he had an answer: ideally, we’d set responsive image performance budgets to achieve “sensible jumps in file size”. Cloudinary built a tool that implemented this idea, and the response from the community was universal: “Great! Now – what else can it do?” Today, we have an answer: art direction!

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As video use and requirements grow - so do the challenges
Video is an increasingly important component for websites and apps, as consumer demand for and consumption of video content is growing. It’s not only for wired devices, though. More and more, consumers are accessing video where they want it, when they want it, on whatever device that happens to be nearby.
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An interview with Jason Grigsby about Responsive Images

In the conclusion of this three-part interview the Jason Grigsby, we examine what the future may hold for images on the web. Previously: Part 1, Part 2.

EP: I want to go back to the idea that we started with, that images are fundamentally complicated; that they’ll always present us with problems. What do you think we are going to be working on and talking about in five-to-10 years with regard to images?

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Improve user experience with responsive websites and applications
This article originally appeared on Inc. Magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Back in the day, responsive website design wasn't the business imperative that it is now. In fact, just having a functioning website was all that it took to set you apart, and if it had images that loaded correctly within a few minutes, then that was a nice bonus. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, those days are long gone.
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