Smaller images lead to faster and more engaging websites…

Gerald Thulbourn, WebSanity Internet Marketing, HuntingdonIt’s not that often that I get excited about a computer program, but I’m really excited about a program I stumbled over recently called JPEGmini.

So, what’s so exciting about it?

Well, it can take your existing JPG images (e.g. photos out of your camera) and reduce them in size by up to 3x, typically 2.1x. That’s not their claim – that’s my measurements. With NO LOSS OF QUALITY.

Why is that so exciting?

Well, smaller photos occupy less space (so good for your hard disk and for your web server). Smaller photos also transmit across the web far quicker, which means your website can feel faster and therefore more engaging. Admittedly we usually screw the screws down on image compression until the pips squeak on those images that make up a website design itself, but we’ve seen massive drops in size for big ‘carousel’ or ‘slideshow’ images which website owners tend to just upload ‘fresh out of the camera’, with consequent increase in speed and reduction in bandwidth consumed.

How do they do it?

JPG images are compressed according to a compression factor. However, JPG compression is ‘lossy’ – which means that as you increase the compression you start seeing ‘artefacts’ within the image. On a photo these are often not so noticeable, but on text and line drawings the hard edges show considerable blurring (hence why we avoid JPGs for such images). Cameras in particular are lazy on setting the compression. Given that cameras are judged in reviews by the quality of their photos, they apply only light compression, so there is a lot of scope to turn up the compression without damaging the images significantly.

JPEGmini is a program that analyses photos and compresses them by setting the JPG compression factor – so the resulting files are just JPG files like you or I could produce, but where they have set the compression level automatically. The clever bit is that they set that compression level to a value just above the threshold at which effects start to become visible. i.e. the compressed photos look identical to the originals, however, they’ve had all the ‘slack taken out’. Thus – potential big space savings with no drop in quality: all good stuff for a website.

As I said, in reality for the ‘framework’ images in a website design we tend to compress even harder to try to get sizes down even further, but if you are looking after your own website or are uploading significant numbers of photos to a website then this software could seriously give your website a speed boost. Check it out at www.jpegmini.com.

Note: we are not affiliated with these people and earn no income by you visiting or buying from them. Other compression programs exist.

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About Gerald Thulbourn

Gerald Thulbourn setup WebSanity in 2004. He has a 1st class honours MEng in Microelectronics & Software Engineering (i.e. he's a techy), 5 A grades at A level (i.e. he works hard) and loves to communicate (i.e. odd for a techy). He hates tech speak, sloppy/badly tested code, and technology for the sake of technology's sake. He loves helping people understand marketing concepts and seeing how their application makes a real difference to their business. In particular he loves training; SEO, Website Analysis, WordPress etc. Read more about us on Google+