As many of you know from Madison (NACIS), I am a person who feels VERY passionate about the issue of web graphics optimization......so much so that I recently registered the domain name "graphicsoptimization.com" and plan to develop a web site this summer that both illustrates the "how" and "why" of why "G.O." is important, offering tutorials, advice and services to those interested in taking things a step or two further. For me, web graphics optimization is about three primary areas of benefit:
1. Economic. Smaller image sizes = more page/image views, for those sites dependent upon advertising revenues to help support themselves, as well as fewer servers/lines needed to move all of the information through cyberspace.
2. Environmental. Less bandwidth consumption = less hardware needing to be manufactured (and replaced) to store and distribute information, as well as the "extension of life expectancy" of existing equipment via the increase in their ability to process information faster than before. Another environmental benefit would be the fact that less time would be needed to effectively view the content that one is desiring, resulting in less time running one's computer and consuming electricity (though my guess is that at least some of that "void" would be filled by people simply viewing more online content).
3. Social. Slow-loading pages and graphics puts individuals who are poor and/or do not possess access to higher connection speeds at a SUBSTANTIAL disadvantage to those of us who do.....and smaller image sizes will dramatically improve the usability of the internet for individuals on dial-up connections or slower cable/DSL services.
I wanted to raise this issue in CartoTalk again after viewing one of Jean-Louis' beautiful renderings of Montreal in our Map Gallery this afternoon: http://www.cartotalk...t...post&id=584 An absolutely WONDERFUL work, and a joy to look at! Even on my cable/DSL connection, however, it took me a few seconds to display the entire graphic (445,081 bytes). Just for "grins", I ran that graphic through some image optimization techniques that I have available to me, and was able to reduce that same .jpg file (same pixel height/width, same resolution, same JPEG quality, etc.) to 268,500 bytes....a savings of 39.7% in bandwidth (176,581 bytes every time the image is viewed on a computer that is not storing a copy of that image in its cache). The results of the optimization work is attached to this message, and I would be confident in saying that a vast majority of individuals will see little/no change in the image whatsoever.
I'm not sure if people are REALLY understanding the profound social, environmental and economic benefits of image optimization! However, I was hoping to receive people's sincere and honest feedback on if you all feel that this topic should have more of a place in the forefront of the work we are all creating and publishing for on-screen display. As an example, I recently contacted Google Maps and illustrated to them (in as detailed of a fashion as one can without boring people to tears....like I am sure this long-winded message is doing) how converting all of their spliced .png map panels from 256-colors to 64 colors would have absolutely NO noticeable visual effect on their on-screen imagery, yet would reduce the time/bandwidth required to process and display that imagery by one-third (30+ percent). That one site alone going "optimized" would result in TERABYTES of bandwidth being saved on the internet every month....not to mention reducing the number of server slots that Google needs to fill in order to distribute their content.
I do not want to belabor this issue! However, I've heard people talk about "reducing their carbon footprint" as an incredibly important part of ensuring a world worth living for future generations. When I think about the internet and/or what I/we can do to make the world a better place, I am thinking of ways/opportunities for "reducing our BANDWIDTH footprint".....which would be a win/win/win for ourselves and almost everyone around us.
I would welcome your thoughts on this issue. Thanks!