Cloudinary Blog

Cloudinary delivers holistic prescription to mindbodygreen for managing image-heavy web design

How mindbodygreen reduce costs & save development time

mindbodygreen is a digital media brand dedicated to health and wellness. The company’s website bring together leaders in the wellness world, best-selling authors, fitness experts, trusted healers, pioneering doctors, top chefs, celebrities and top-tier journalists to provide readers fresh, expert content and tools to help them live healthy, happy lives. The company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

The Challenge: Image-heavy web redesign 

mindbodygreen’s website has more than 12 million unique visitors each month, with about 55 percent of them accessing the site from mobile devices. In early 2015, the company began the process of rebranding, which included an art-directed, image-heavy redesign of its website
 
“If you analyzed our home page across multiple breakpoints, we had more than 20 different aspect ratios we needed to support,” said Tim Glenister, mindbodygreen’s CTO. “We had standard crops to make for each aspect ratio, then we would have to resize each image accordingly. This really put the pressure on our editorial team, and it was taking up too much of their time per article.”
 
The new design also used a lot more bandwidth than expected, as the site was serving between 25 million and 35 million pages a month. “The bandwidth dedicated to serving image content was skyrocketing because our visitors were consuming more images, especially our mobile users” Glenister added. 
 
mindbodygreen_website

The Cloudinary Solution: Fast implementation and instant impact

About a month after launching the redesign of the mindbodygreen website, Glenister and his team realized the process they were using – which included Amazon CloudFront for serving static images – was going to be unsustainable in the long run because it was so time consuming for the editorial team. 
 
They quickly started looking for solutions that would enable them to crop images on the fly, and examining how other image-heavy websites handled their image transformation. This search led them to Gawker’s website, where they dug into the source code and discovered the unique URLs produced by Cloudinary
 
After reaching out to Cloudinary, mindbodygreen set up a trial of the solution and in less than a week was running it in production. “Implementing the basic Cloudinary code took us less than a day” Glenister said, adding that they were able to set up the source URLs so that Cloudinary could pull images off their servers. “Within a couple of weeks, we were using Cloudinary to transform all our site images, and implemented the flags and filters we needed to optimize our bandwidth.”
 
With Cloudinary, mindbodygreen can update the images for its 25,000 articles on-the-fly, optimizing them for any device and any resolution used by visitors. “We are using lazy loading, DPR parameters, and HTML picture tags with polyfill, which enables us to serve retina images to retina devices and standard images to other devices” he said.
 
Glenister mentions that there are many other image transformations, such as overlays, that they find useful as well. For example, Cloudinary enables conditional transformations that allow a logo overlay to be adjusted as a percentage of the image size, depending on the pixel width of the image. “We need to create three different images, over three different break points – requiring us to swap out images, which would have been challenging,” he explained. “With Cloudinary we can do this with a single URL, and apply it to every image in our library, adding a transformation through code that could be live on our site the next day. Without Cloudinary, it would take several days to engineer this process.”
 
 mindbodygreen website
 
Glenister added that with Cloudinary, mindbodygreen also can easily conduct A/B tests, in conjunction with Optimize.ly, to see what design works best. “To visually update the site with just code, versus having to change the underlying assets has been huge for the engineering and creative team. It has allowed us test creative concepts in real-time that would not have been possible before” he noted.  

The Results: An improved user experience coupled with significant cost, time and bandwidth savings

The time and cost savings related to the move to Cloudinary were almost instantaneous. In just the first month, mindbodygreen was able to drop its image serving costs by 75 percent, while reducing page load by over 33 percent and page weight by 60 percent on average across devices.
 
“We’re in a game where we need our users to have a great experience with our content, especially on mobile devices,” Glenister said. “Before we used Cloudinary, we had a site that was serving a lot of images that were not appropriately sized, and that was slowing down the user experience and using up their bandwidth.”
 
The Cloudinary solution enables mindbodygreen’s small team of about 30 individuals to be agile and move quickly, yet still have a strong brand based on the visual design the creative team envisions. Glenister estimates that the company is saving more than 400 minutes a week – almost a full day of work for a single person – by eliminating the manual processes related to image transformations. 
 
It’s hard to get any simpler than Cloudinary. In fact, it was almost scary how easy it was – we thought we had screwed something up,” Glenister concluded. “We can now manage our assets more effectively with the Cloudinary solution, and we can play around with transformations and overlays to see how things react, since we’re only manipulating URLs. Cloudinary is indispensable to us.” 
 

Recent Blog Posts

Analyze and auto tag images with Amazon Rekognition

Knowledge is power. And if you allow your users to upload images, you also probably want to better understand what their images contain. Whether a photo is of a building, people, animals, celebrities, or a product, image processing and analysis can assist in further comprehension. The benefits of this knowledge can go beyond "merely" categorizing your content and making your image library searchable: drawing insights from user generated content can be very useful! What better way to learn more about your users than to analyze the images they upload and find out what they care about and then have the ability to display relevant content to them according to their interests or even match them with other users that share similar interests.

Read more
Automatically moderate your user uploaded images

Allowing your users to upload their own images to your website can increase user engagement, retention and monetization. However, allowing your users to upload any image they want to, may lead to some of your users uploading inappropriate images to your application. These images may offend other users or even cause your site to violate standards or regulations.

Read more
Cloudinary Uses Scale API to Focus on Image Compression

Here at Cloudinary, we provide a cloud-based tool that enables our users to compress images and video for their websites and apps. Our goal is to preserve the visual integrity of the content, but deliver the smallest file size to any device or browser to ultimately optimize website performance and end user satisfaction.

Read more
CloudinaryAndroid SDK

Developing applications for mobile consumption requires facing, and overcoming, some difficult challenges. Apps need to limit their RAM, CPU and battery usage while still performing the required tasks in a reasonable time frame. If too many background tasks are running, the mobile device can become sluggish, with the battery running out very quickly. Coordination with other apps is crucial to keep the device responsive and make the battery last longer.

Read more
forLoop: Nigeria Event on Building for The Next Billion Users

TL;DR

Since Google shared their intent for the next billion internet users, some African developers thought this was pointing right at them and they needed to act fast. The mission to bring the next billion users from Africa to the internet kicked off a storm of enthusiasm. This community event turned into a success story and this is a summary of what happened.

Read more