Over 60% of the file size of the average web page is taken up by graphics and multimedia. So graphics optimization is an important step in optimizing web page speed. At an alarming frequency, we have seen large PNG24 and unoptimized JPEGs used on the Web. Large PNG24s should be optimized for file size or converted to PNG8s. This article shows how to optimize PNG files effectively by minimizing their color palettes, and using alpha transparency intelligently.
There are a number of books published now on Web Performance. Here is a summary of the books available on the topic, mainly from O’Reilly.
Drop shadows add impact to web graphics, but they also impact file size. You can minimize the resulting file size of palette-based images such as GIFs and PNGs by reducing the complexity of drop shadows. This article shows how to create optimized drop-shadows in Photoshop to minimize the size of web graphics.
Advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry on the Web. The Internet Advertising Bureau reported that web advertising grew by nearly 34 percent in 2006 over 2005, totaling about $16.8 billion (IAB 2007). The yearly growth rate of Internet ads is increasing at 28.6% per year, while the overall ad industry drags along with an increase of only 7.7% a year (Baker 2004).
Multimedia compression can be thought of as a war against unnecessary noise. Noise is the unwanted random dot pattern overlaid on videos and graphics when electronic noise is present, due in part to the random motion of electrons. Noise creeps into images, both still and motion, with the more lossy steps you take when manipulating images. These random dot patterns, or “snow,” prevent compression algorithms from working optimally, increasing file sizes. By minimizing the noise in your original images and videos, you can gain the maximum amount of compression when optimizing images and videos destined for the Web.
While streaming-media files make up only a small portion of the total web objects on the average web page, less than 1.3% according to Levering & Cutler (2006), a small fraction of streaming media is responsible for nearly half of the streaming media traffic (Chesire et a. 2001). In fact, YouTube is responsible for about 10% of all traffic on the Internet (Nowak 2007) and is growing at over 162% a year (see Table 1). Consequently the optimization of streaming media, movies in particular, is important to minimize load times, reduce bandwidth bills, and maximize web page speed.
Ball heads provide stability and mobility for photographers on the go. Combined with a stable tripod a solid ball head can help dampen out vibration for sharper photographs, especially for larger enlargements. Sharper photographs and videos make for smaller, higher quality multimedia for the Web. This article reviews some professional ball head options and looks at vibration testing with a laser vibrometer.
Harmonic colors are color combinations that have special internal relationships that are aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. Professional web designers experienced in color theory can create color palettes that evoke different moods, appropriate to the product or service being sold.
PDF optimization is often overlooked when creating PDF files for the Web. While PDFs have become quite popular on the Web, many PDFs used in web sites are designed for high quality print output and are not optimized for the Web. Even PDFs designed for Web use can have a wait problem, weighed down with excess fonts, change histories, and unoptimized images and forms. Optimizing PDF files for the Web can significantly shrink their size and boost display speed, saving bandwidth and user frustration.
Splash pages are branding or branching pages that usually appear before the main home page of a site. Many splash screens are graphically rich to entice users to explore the site. Unfortunately, splash pages decrease credibility, traffic, search engine rankings, and web site performance. This article explores the effects of splash pages and offers some solutions to lessen the pain.