As a technology company, Cloudinary owes its success to its ability to build solutions that address the most critical challenges you, our customers, face. The companies we serve run the gamut of digital businesses—retailers and direct-to-consumer brands, media and entertainment, travel and hospitality—which, coincidentally, all care about the same things.
To engage with modern users, today’s websites must be extremely visual. Even though high-quality images and videos can help keep visitors on the site and convert them, those media assets also add to the page weight, load time, and bandwidth. Unoptimized content can result in performance issues, causing visitors to bounce off.
So, your boss comes to you in a panic: he's just heard about Google's Core Web Vitals initiative and needs you to optimize the company website right now! "No problem," you say, hiding your fear that it's not something that can be done overnight. Just taking the first metric, Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), how can you possibly identify all the large elements - most likely images or video posters - of the many hundreds of pages that make up your site? There are already thousands of high-resolution (read massive) media files stored away, which marketing could use any time. How are you going to make sure they're all compressed to a size small enough to be delivered within the threshold? Not to mention all the new images and videos that will be created over time...
I can be quite passionate about image codecs. A “codec battle” is brewing, and I’m not the only one to have opinions about that. Obviously, as the chair of the JPEG XL ad hoc group in the JPEG Committee, I’m firmly in the camp of the codec I’ve been working on for years. Here in this post, however, I’ll strive to be fair and neutral.
AVIF is a new image format for the web. Before I tell you all about it, let me show you what AVIF can do.
One way to compare image codecs is to encode the same image in different formats at matched file sizes and then compare the visual quality of the resulting images. For example, I rendered the AVIF below with a
q_50 quality transformation. It weighs 12.3 KB and, compared to the lossless original it looks pretty good subjectively.
Fidelity in images is about visually preserving the original; appeal is about hiding the compression artifacts. Depending on your priority, you would compress images with either of these approaches to reduce the file size while still maintaining a reasonable level of visual “quality”:
GUESS? Inc. designs, markets, distributes, and licenses a lifestyle collection of contemporary apparel, denim, handbags, watches, eyewear, footwear, and other related consumer products. These products are distributed through branded GUESS Stores, as well as department and specialty stores around the world, and via e-commerce sites available to 55 countries. GUESS websites act as virtual storefronts that both sell their products and promote their brands, showcasing products in an easy-to-navigate experience that allows customers to see and purchase from its collections.