ResourcesPerformancePicture Perfect: The Importance of Aesthetic and Technical Image Performance

Picture Perfect: The Importance of Aesthetic and Technical Image Performance

Discover the secrets to maximizing web visuals with OCUS CEO Thibaud Lemmonier. Dive into expert insights on enhancing image performance, boosting SEO, and mastering strategies for engaging users and elevating web performance.

Dec 20 2023

The power of images on the internet is undeniable, meaning you need to start leveraging and improving your image performance strategy today. 

On average, people retain 55% more information when paired with images, which account for 42% of the total bytes downloaded by website visitors in the past year, according to the HTTP Archive. Not convinced yet? You should be. Web content with images and video receives up to 94% more views than those without. 

Image performance should be front of mind for all online businesses, but what does image performance mean?

The dual meaning of image performance

Image performance has a dual meaning. First, it means the efficiency and speed at which images are loaded and displayed on your site–the impact on your web performance.

Second, image performance relates to the aesthetic quality and relevancy of the images, including the elements that create high-quality pictures: composition, lighting, color, and subject matter.

By embracing these definitions of image performance, you can take a step towards using impactful pictures and significantly increasing engagement and your Core Web Vitals.

Demystifying image performance: Why it matters

To demystify image optimization processes, we must first dissect and simplify why you need to start leveraging it immediately. 

These are the four main reasons why image performance matters.

1. A captivating user experience

Here’s a scenario you need to avoid at all costs. If your web page fails to load in three seconds, up to 40% of visitors will abandon your page.

The page load time and user bounce rate correlation is straightforward. Improved image performance leads to lower bounce rates and higher user engagement. In turn, you can expect to see a better user experience and higher conversion rates. 

Increasing engagement and user time on a web page comes down to deploying high-quality and relevant images that convey your message effectively. You need to choose images that resonate with your audience.

You should look further than leveraging free stock images and rather be audience-specific. Look for a solution that empowers you with pictures that truly resonate with your target market. 

2. The power of images in SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is touted as the lifeblood of digital visibility, and I can not overstate how crucial image performance is to SEO performance.

Latest statistics show that around 1 billion people use Google Images to search daily. Search engines take image load time into account, which means if you have poor image performance, your search engine ranking will not perform as well as your competitors. 

Moreover, about 25% of Google’s search engine result pages will show images. These images aren’t displayed by accident, and you need to ensure that you properly optimize your pictures with ALT text, image titles, and descriptions (relevant keywords included) to help search engines understand the content of your pictures. 

3. Navigating mobile browsing

The average amount of website traffic on mobile phones stands at just under 57%

Great image performance will positively impact your page load time and the user experience of potential customers viewing your website. Remember that three-second statistic! 

Responsive images are crucial for impacting your mobile performance. These images automatically adjust to the user’s device, including screen size and resolution. By deploying these image file formats, you can ensure that the overall user experience of your website is improved with good-looking images. 

4. Cost efficiency and environmental impact

Budgets are tight. All companies are looking for ways to save money and time, and you can elevate your efforts by leveraging image performance.

Optimized images can significantly reduce bandwidth consumption and decrease your storage costs. By using smaller image files, websites can achieve faster page load times, leading to savings on hosting and content delivery expenses.

Improving image performance can also significantly impact the environment by reducing the energy consumption of data centers. Efficient image formats and compressed images will also help alleviate the energy needed to load and render pictures on your web pages. 

Enhancing image aesthetic performance

Tailoring imagery to audience preferences and maintaining brand consistency is essential for an impactful online presence, ensuring optimal user experience and engagement.

Aesthetic image performance consists of the following three core pillars.

Audience-centric image performance

Understanding your audience is a significant aspect of image performance. 

You must select and deploy pictures that resonate with your target market to effectively convey your message, values, and personality. A clear understanding of your customers’ demographics, interests, and preferences will help you select pictures that connect with your audience. 

For example, you can leverage A/B testing of different images designed for the same purpose to see which generates better engagement and drives higher conversion rates. Consider testing different images, such as a photograph against an illustration. Next, you can optimize images to match your audience's preferences. 

Maintain brand consistency

Images play a pivotal role in shaping your brand's perception and identity, making it essential to select pictures that resonate with your target market. 

Choosing images that align with your brand's values and personality empowers you to create a deeper connection with your audience, enhance user experience, and foster a memorable brand image that sets you apart from your competition.

Balance quality and resolution

The right balance between image quality and file size is pivotal for an enhanced user experience and a polished look. 

Leveraging the right image formats and compression methods can effectively balance file size with image quality. You should also consider using responsive images that adapt to different screen sizes to ensure consistent image quality, elevating the user experience universally.

Technical optimization for image performance

Optimizing images for digital platforms involves selecting appropriate image formats, using effective compression methods, and ensuring speedy delivery. 

Time to dive into technical image performance, including essential techniques and tools to ensure your visuals load swiftly and display beautifully across all devices. 

The right format

When choosing an image format, consider these guidelines: 

  • PNG images: Best for transparency and high-quality graphics, though larger file sizes might impact load times.
  • JPEG (or JPG) images: Ideal for photographs, delivering good quality in smaller sizes but lacking transparency.
  • WebP images: A Google innovation offering superior compression and quality, lossy and lossless modes, and transparency support.
  • AVIF images: Provides top-notch compression, outdoing WebP, but make sure you check browser compatibility–it’s a newer format.
  • GIF images: Perfect for simple animations and supports transparency, but only ideal for simple images due to limited colors.

Compression tools and techniques

When compressing images, consider using tools that can effectively minimize file sizes while preserving quality and enhancing site speed and overall user experience.

You'll encounter two main methods of image compression: lossless and lossy compression. Lossless retains full image quality while shrinking file size. In contrast, lossy compression minimizes image file size by removing some data, potentially sacrificing slight quality. 

When choosing whether to use a lossy or lossless, do so based on the purpose of the image and your desired balance between size and clarity. 

Responsive images

Responsive images are automatic resizing file types that adjust their resolution based on the screen size they are viewed on, elevating user experience across a wide range of devices.

To optimize your website speed and loading time, use responsive images to cater to the wide range of devices the market currently uses. This will ensure that smaller devices load appropriately sized images. 

Lazy load images

You should also consider using lazy load images when developing your image performance strategy. 

The lazy load technique defers non-essential image loading until they're in the user's visible area rather than instantly upon page load. Leveraging this approach can elevate the user experience while conserving bandwidth and boosting your website’s overall performance. 

Content Delivery Networks

Consider integrating a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to optimize image delivery times.

CDNs store image replicas on global servers, allowing users to access images from the nearest server, which boosts loading speeds. Enhance this further with browser caching and server performance tweaks.

Recommended CDNs include Cloudflare for broad applications, Amazon CloudFront for those integrated with AWS, and Akamai for enterprise demands. Your final selection should align with your specific requirements and budget needs. 

If you want more advice on elevating your image performance, check out our 9 tips for improving image performance

Tracking and analyzing image performance

Critically, you will need to track and analyze your image performance with a mind to iterate and change as needed. Otherwise, all your hard work will come to naught.

A wide range of tools are available to help you keep track of your website’s performance, including image load times and other factors impacting user experience and SEO ranking. For example, you can leverage Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify areas for improvement and optimize images accordingly. 

Understanding these critical image performance metrics, such as file size and page load time, will enable you to make informed decisions. These will include improving image performance, like using image compression, responsive images, or lazy load images.

OCUS as the solution

To make an impact on your web performance, OCUS is the one-stop shop that does the hard work to solve both your aesthetic and technical image performance challenges.

From photography to enhancement and optimization, our solution can automatically address all the complexities associated with achieving image performance at scale. 

Moreover, OCUS’s API offers effortless content moderation to uphold your brand standards and maintain a positive user experience while meeting minimum image quality and content standards. 

Our AI-powered technology works 24/7 to identify and optimize images with quality controls while our images enhance visual appeal, contribute to increased conversions, improve in-app performance, and enhance customer lifetime value. 

Discover OCUS to achieve unparalleled image performance at scale!

December 20 2023
Written by Thibaud Lemonnier

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