They may not have many leather bound books or smell of rich mahogany, but images are...kind of a big deal. In fact, it would be fair to say that content owners and consumers have gone a bit "image crazy" in the past few years.
- Images take up 63% of a web pages download bytes
- Images have doubled in size from 2012-2015
- Images make up as much as 95% of mobile app content
Image proliferation is driven by users. They demand rich, engaging experiences. And images are the most effective engagement tool there is. They lead to higher user participation and greater conversions:
- Articles with images get 94% more total views
- Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content
- Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images
And it's not just businesses answering the call for more images in our web experiences. Consumers are making and sharing more images than ever before. Between Facebook, Snapchat, and Whatsapp, 22,388 images are being uploaded every second.
But...(and you know there's a but)...under all these exciting stats lies a hard truth.
Online images present tremendous challenges. Images are complex to create, expensive to store, laborious to manage, difficult to send, and complicated to receive. Why? Our screen displays are high resolution with high pixel density ratios, our websites and applications have richer content, and our cameras are capable of taking high quality photos. As a result, ISPs and mobile networks cannot keep up with user demand for data in terms of rendering or transmitting. Additional challenges arise from the incredible diversity of today's devices, browsers, and platforms (combined with the multitude of image files and formats), making delivering the best image experience to each user incredibly complex.
So here's the good news. Akamai partnered with O'Reilly Media and enlisted some of today's top image and web performance experts to provide useful tips, tricks, and practical theory to help developers deliver powerful images on any website or app. The result is High Performance Images, a book that covers the nuts and bolts of delivering high performance images on the Internet - including colour theory, image formats, storage and management, operations delivery, browser and application behavior, responsive web, and more. And as an exclusive offer, we're offering a free preview edition of the full book here.