Cloudinary Blog

ImageCon2018: Toward Excellence in Interactive Visual Media

ImageCon2018: Toward Excellence in Interactive Visual Media

On April 12, 2018, Cloudinary hosted its second annual ImageCon conference, which brought together more than 200 professionals from developers to architects to designers to executives. We had two main goals for this year’s ImageCon: shine a light on interactive media through presentations by leading industry experts and foster an open exchange of media-related best practices and ideas among the attendees.

Over the past decade, the web has been morphing visually by leaps and bounds with a corresponding surge in the number of channels and devices. With the growth comes challenges, not the least of which is the ability to consistently deliver visual media across devices. The ongoing developments in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have underscored the need for drastic performance improvements to satisfy user demands on a global scale.

ImageCon gives participants a great opportunity to familiarize themselves with the current landscape in interactive media management and engage in thought-provoking discussions with peers and influencers.

An Interactive Agenda

The agenda comprised a keynote address and several captivating presentations. Colin Bendell, Cloudinary's senior director of analytics and strategy, delivered the opening remarks, served as emcee, and moderated questions.

In addition, Andy Katz, senior product manager, Amazon Web Services, gave a talk on media processing workflows with AWS step functions and machine learning on AWS. And our very own Eric Portis, developer evangelist, hosted the Gee Whiz Video Quiz, spanning a wide range of geeky topics—bitrates, B-frames, Thoughts on Flash, Me at the Zoo. To the audience’s enlightenment, he also delved into the history and practice of movies in web browsers, complete with the many twists and turns.

Key Takeaways

Our presenters offered interesting insights into some of the key media issues companies of all stripes face and suggestions on how to prepare for the future, including the following:

  • Be clear-sighted about the potential of algorithms, all prone to pitfalls, emerging as intelligence-as-a-service products. Focus on your users and “design for failure” besides for success. — Josh Clark: Images in the Era of the Algorithm
  • The process of optimizing images, which involves collaboration among development and operations personnel, ultimately means efficiently delivering and displaying images at the right time. Be sure to keep in mind the principles of Google AMP [accelerated mobile pages], the key ones being prizing usability as a top priority and preserving the web’s integrity. — Kitt Hodsden: Beyond Resizing: The Image Performance Checklist
  • Pros and cons abound in the various ways of creating graphics on the web. Adopting a combination of some of those approaches might be your best bet. — Amy Cheng: Drawing a Circle Three Ways
  • Loading images on mobile devices calls for insight into resolving numerous related issues. Progressive rendering and display of right-sized images are the most salient tips. — Ryan Cooke: Moving Metrics With Better Mobile Images
  • Don’t overlook accessibility because it behooves us to also design for the visually and hearing impaired, not least the aged. To play safe, add an alt attribute for all <img/> tags, including the empty ones. — Katie Sylor-Miller: Images for Everyone
  • Notwithstanding the significant progress we've made to date with posting responsive images across devices, opportunities abound for developers to further define the yardsticks for the key areas, such as client hints, lazy loading, and image preloading. — Yoav Weiss: Responsive Images: The Next Generation
  • As dazzling as the advent of augmented reality and virtual reality is, bear in mind that performance tops all user requirements. — Martin Splitt: A Whirlwind Tour of the Immersive Web

A key mission of Cloudinary is to support worthwhile causes. Toward that end, we donated the ticket-sales proceeds of over $12,000 from ImageCon 2018 to Women Who Code Silicon Valley, a nonprofit organization that champions technology careers for women.

Coming Attractions

Are you interested in the next ImageCon in 2019? If so, join the email list by writing Marketing@cloudinary.com.

To immerse yourself in the ImageCon experience, check out the video playlist of the event.

Above all, many thanks to the sponsors (AWS, Google Cloud, and O’Reilly Media), speakers, and participants. We very much appreciate your contributions.

A Snapshot of ImageCon 2018

“Andy “Eric “Josh “Kitt “Amy “Ryan “Katie “Yoav “Martin

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