Guide To Choose The Best Image File Format For Your Website
Let's find out which one to use for maximum website performance!
Working with websites has never been an easy feat. Tons of consideration, calculation, and design matter will be part of the website building. It includes the importance of every element in its site, including the data. The image formats for your online media can affect the Ui and UX, especially the loading time and quality.
As creatures that are visually driven, humans prefer pictures rather than plain text. That is why one of the ways to make an engaging website is by adding pictures to it. However, you need to ensure you got the best image file format to support the media. So, what should you choose? There are more than just extensions that you need to learn. Here they are.
Why You Need To Choose One
Is there a reason why you need to choose the proper format? One of the reasons is that website performance will depend on your graphic element. The image file itself includes all of the graphic components, including logo, picture, gif, or any other information. However, the graphics come in many formats that have different sizes, renderings, and characters.
Considering the differing process, website makers need to choose the perfect image file format. One thing that is for sure is that each option offers ranging possibilities. The best and apparent characteristic is appearance. Some options can give more details, provide high-quality pictures, or work with a transparent background.
Some files are over the top in the performance aspect. How so? You need to underline that some options might help boost up your website loading time or not. It happens due to the data format rendering process, size, or details. That kind of information might affect your website performance tremendously.
Another reason why you need to consider choosing the image file format is the scalability point. Some file formats under the vector type have a better scalability aspect (made larger or smaller). The act will not affect the data quality, and you can still have a clear image for your website. However, some lose their quality through scale-up.
The last reasons go to the fact that websites need light or small size data to load. One thing that you need to pay attention to is that the picture format can end with a very big size. Most of the heavier sizes tend to come with better detailing. But can your website handle the loading time? The best image file format should load fast without losing its quality.
Type Of Formats
There are tons of file formats that you can use. However, not all of the formats support website applications. The best example is the BMP or TIFF extensions. That is why this article will cover the most common or highly used extensions for websites. Pay attention to its characteristics and aspects, so you can choose the best one.
SVG or the Scalable Vector Graphic is one of the best image formats you can use for graphic projects. It is highly recommended to use it for logos, icons, or simple illustrations. The best point of the format itself goes to its vector-based graphic that has better scalability. In other words, it allows image scale and also still maintains its high-quality file.
It is an extension that was developed by W3C or World Wide Web Consortium as an extensible markup language (XML). That is why it has universal browser support and a website. It also works with almost all illustration software. The SVG extension format also has a smaller size and loss-free scaling, which is perfect for many website elements.
However, there are also some contradictions in using the format. SVG is mostly not the best option for a complex picture or drawing. It is also not supported for the default image editor. If you are going to work with CMS platforms, then you better choose a different file. Even so, SVG still has a better-quality image compared to the PNG and JPEG on the website.
Created in 2010 by Google, the WebP might be one of the best image file formats you can choose for a website. It is specially designed for the web, which provides either lossy or lossless compression. Due to its compression aspect, you can expect that the WebP will have a smaller size with good quality pictures.
The compression aspect is also considered better than PNG and JPEG. That is why many websites have started to use WebP for its image file format. The light space helps fasten the loading speed. At the same time, the picture can keep its sharpness and look crisp even when the size of the data is greatly reduced.
Some of the good reasons to use Webp come from its transparency support. The format can give you a high-quality image even with a smaller size. The data extension can reach up to a 35% compression rate compared to the former JPEG file. And compared to PNG, the difference in the lossy type can reach up to 50%. In other words, it offers a very light file for your website.
However, most of the CMS platforms do not have compatibility with WebP. It is such a bummer. But you can always add a plugin or extension to work around the website image compatibility issues. Another compatibility con comes from browser support. Some browsers such as internet explorer and safari cannot open this image file format.
If you are looking for the standard and best image file format for a website, consider the Portable Network graphic or PNG. The PNG is pretty much an industry standard for digital or print media. One thing that you need to underline is its pixel-based picture. In other words, PNG is a raster graphic data. Thus, you need to be careful when scaling the file.
The raster graphic inability to scale up is one of the challenges that you need to pay attention to. You have to ensure that the image file format has the correct size and resolution to work its best. So, you need to export the data in different sizes to support ranges of applications. With that in mind, you can choose PNG for some images on the website.
Most of the time, the best use of PNG extension is for logos, simple illustrations, or icons. Your graphic will have a sharper detail and look better on the website compared to JPEG. However, the PNG file might come with a bigger size as a consequence of higher graphic quality. But again, it is the universal option that comes with a high compatibility aspect.
It works with almost all browsers. You can also open the data on almost all devices. It is commonly used for digital media since it is optimized with 24 export color images. Overall, it is one of the best image file formats you can choose. If you want to optimize it, you can use PNG and compress it as low as possible while maintaining its picture quality on the website.
Another common image file format that you can see almost everywhere is JPEG or JPG. The Joint Photographic Experts Group is another raster-based data that is also a standard file option for digital cameras. Most websites and online media use JPEG due to its universal support as well as great compression possibilities.
The picture format uses a lossy compression process, which means every time it is exported or re-saved, the quality will decrease. The good point of JPEG comes from its noticeable, high-quality photographs, even in small file sizes. Unfortunately, due to its raster graphic, you will need to save it in the proper resolution and size. So, it fits your website's layout.
The common usage of JPEG in websites mostly focuses on picture-heavy content. Social media is one of the best examples, where the format had a lot of alteration to fit the stage. The website uses specific image sizes to help avoid pixelation and control the resolution. But the result still ends with a high-quality picture.
When you are going to use this image file format, you can optimize the website with a small file. It helps create a fast-loading aspect and sharp or good-quality photos. It also has universal browser support, so it supports almost every website. However, again it is a raster graphic. So, you need to pay attention to the scalability point.
Most professional designers will choose the best image file format for computer-generated graphics (other than JPEG). The lossy compression also decrees the picture quality over time. It also does not support transparent backgrounds. So, the design format does not help a lot for advanced graphics such as logos or icons. But again, it is still okay for websites.
Compared to the other image file formats, GIF is the only option for you who want to make an animated element on a major website. It is a good file that makes your website a little bit of fun. The option itself has some advantages, including transparency, animation, and high compression file size options.
As an animated graphic format, GIFs can only handle a few color types. The number reaches up to 256 colors. That is why it is not recommended to save highly detailed photographs using GIFs. Most of the time, it is used for small animations and creating low-resolution video clips files. Due to its compression option, GIF also has a smaller size.
Thus, it works for websites without decreasing the loading time. Even though GIFs are very popular, there are also some alternative animated pictures. You can use WebP, FLIF (free lossless image format), APNG (Animated Portable Network Graphic), and many more. But GIF is still one of the best image file formats since it is widely supported in almost every browser.
But again, some cons make the image file format suffer some negative connotations. GIF extensions come with a loss of quality of the photograph. The lack of color (limited to 8-bit color) and detail make it not appropriate for graphics. At the same time, most GIFs have copyright issues. So, you need to be careful when using it for websites.
Before you choose one of the options, you will see that each of the formats bore different characteristics and specifications. Thus, ensure you know what they are beforehand. In the case of choosing website elements, some of the considerations for choosing image files come from the type, resolution, color, and compression. Here are some details for you.
1. Vector Vs. Raster
Vector and raster are the two image types that you need to choose carefully. The raster graphic uses pixels to present the pictures. This kind of format is ideal for complex graphics such as photographs on your website. It does have higher color picks and can capture every single detail. However, the raster type is very resolution or size-dependent.
In other words, you cannot scale it up without disrupting its quality. However, the major image file formats are in raster graphics. Some of the file extensions are JPEG, PNG, or Gif. In contrast to raster, vector graphics use mathematical formulas to make lines, points, or polygons. Thus, the vector graphic representation works great for geometric shapes models.
It is the best image file format or the ideal option for graphics design, such as icons or logos. The plus point goes to its scalability. You can make it bigger and in different sizes without losing quality on your website. It mostly comes with SVG, PDF, EPS, or Ai extension. As it is good for geometric shapes, the option is not an ideal model for saving detailed photos.
2. Resolution And Dimension
As you choose the format for the website, make sure you also know the image resolution and dimension. The resolution refers to the details, which are described in PPI or DPI. It is most important for raster images since the file is very resolution-dependent. So, the higher resolution means it has more PPI or DPI. In other words, it has more pixels to create higher-quality graphics.
Learning about resolution and dimension helps you figure out the sense of image file size. Since you are working for a website, it is best to consider smaller sizes of data. However, it can affect the resolution. It is especially true since the more pixels the picture has, the more affected the memory size will be. So, it is better to optimize the best image file format.
3. Color Modes
RGB and CMYK have different applications. If you are working for websites and digital media, the RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) are the optimized option. It is an ideal color mode for your image file format. The color combinations are mostly optimized for website uses or digital applications. That is why it might have different results in printing.
Meanwhile, the CMYK is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and key. The color mode is better than RGB if you are going for printed media. The color option will combine four different inks to make an optimized result. The good news is, you can always convert the two color modes. So, you can make the item format work the best on your website.
4. Lossless And Lossy
The last consideration for the best image file format is compression. You need to learn that every type of option has different compression. It mostly happens to raster files. The lossless image model will capture the original data, which is why it is the ideal file for the first save. Meanwhile, the lossy data will compress to a smaller size, which can lower the image resolution.
Choosing The File Format
If you are working with a website, most of the time, the option goes to the smaller size image yet has a high-quality product. In this case, you can choose JPG, PNG, or WebP. Each of them has different characteristics and image quality items. That is why designers will need to choose the image file format carefully.
However, you need to think about the type of image and the goal of using one. Do you want a high-end website with quality or detailed pictures? Or do you pay more emphasis on the fast-loading website? The answer will depend on your decision. You can use the smaller size yet good quality, WebP, or use the higher quality drawing using PNG.
The idea of choosing the best image file format itself was meant to help to optimize the website. You might pursue the best pixel and image quality. Or you might want to work with speed and better website loading time. The best way to find the proper option is by doing experiments and testing. Try it, and you will eventually find the right one.
It is not a surprise that web designers tend to play around with images in their designs. All goes to the goal of engaging visitors and making them interested in the content. However, the file will affect the performance. You need to consider the type, color, resolution, dimension, and compression to get the best format. With that, your website will work the best.