Image Format : No doubt, choosing the right image for your website could be very tasking, and sometimes, be a war. This is because the image format you choose for your website does not only affect the page load time of the site but will also affect the file size and appearance of your site. Therefore, if your desire has been to have an attractive site functioning smoothly, it’s important you take special attention to the format of image you choose for each application on such site.
The “big four” – PNG, JPEG, GIF, and SVG has been the most common image format being used on the web. While each of these image extensions has their unique advantages, they also come with fallbacks specific to each of them. However, knowing which to choose is a great factor to make a difference in how your website looks to visitors.
JPEG which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group was invented in 1986. This format of images takes up a very little storage space, and it is quick to download or upload. It is a 16-bit style of image and so supports over 16 million colors. This unique diversity has made JPEG a perfect choice for images having complex shading and colors. They work well on websites because the reduced image size supports quick loading of the pages, and when posting on social media channels, JPEG is just your best bet. As a matter of fact, most smart phones and digital cameras save your pictures as JPEGs.
However, even as it supports faster load time of a site, it does this at the expense of quality. It is considered “lossy”, which means when this format of image is compressed, it sacrifices some of the information contained in the image which makes it lose its quality more and more as it is further compressed on a site.
Known as Graphics Interchange Format, it came on the scene in 1987 addressing the difficulty experienced when sending images over slow connections or bandwidth. This type of image format is “lossless” and so able to retain all the data contained in the image file and so leaving quality same even when compressed. GIFs are smaller than JPEG simply because they don’t accommodate as many colors as JPEG does.
GIFs are your best choice when it comes to small web graphics, buttons, icons, and navigation images. GIFs can work well on your site without interrupting the visual flow of the site. When you think of bringing motion to your site, the animation ability of GIF makes it a perfect choice for creating eye-catching memes and animations.
Short for Portable Network Graphics was created in the year 1995, taking advantage of the best features offered by both JPEG and GIF. If you are working with a more complex image and file size is not a problem to you, PNG is likely going to be your best choice. PNG provides you with a choice of various levels of transparency because it uses alpha channels, therefore making it easy to be used for logos with completely transparent backgrounds. This also comes in a higher quality than you can find with GIF.
Like JPEG, PNGs are also most often used for static images, however, they can support animation. PNG is also lossless, and so do not delete any information when compressing it, and therefore become ideal for detailed graphics, or when you decide to work with files that are still going to be edited.
This happened to be the lattes among the four image formats, and also the most powerful suitable for the web. Created in 2001, it is the short form for Scalable Vector Graphics and no doubt is the best for the web. Unlike what is seen in other formats, SVG images remain clear and crisp at any size or resolution. Thanks to its mathematically declared curves and shapes and not pixels. SVG can also support transparency, can be animated, and accommodate any combinations of colors.
Like PNG and GIF, SVG is also lossless and tends to be a bit larger than any other formats of images used for the web.
Now, Which Should You Choose?
It all depends on the operation you want to use them for on your site. Below is a quick run through:
•Use JPEG if you are uploading your beautiful and multi-colored images to your social media channels.
•Choose GIF if what you want to do is make some hilarious animation
•PNG is your choice if you will be working with detailed icons, high-quality images, or you need transparency preserved.
•SVG is your man for high-quality images and need to scale such image to any size while still retaining quality.