April 23rd, 2022
Update 4.23.22: I ended up removing
lazy load for the
body element background images in the
contact.html pages, but added
lazy load to all the
img elements inside all the
figure elements. That way, once the
body background image for the
portfolio.html page started loading, it triggered the
loading for the other images. Otherwise, whichever
figure element images I did not
lazy load, appeared completely collapsed, because they did not initially contain the
placeholder images inside the values of their
src attributes. And that just looked strange and not the greatest
Recently, I changed the images on my example portfolio site for the Web Design I class I am teaching from absolute paths to images under the Creative Commons license to locally installed images inside an images folder. I cropped them all down to 1500x1000 pixels, about double the size of the Creative Commons images, but I was not going to get fancy with using picture elements or srcset elements with different size images for different viewport widths. So at first, I did nothing.
I checked my page performance using
Lighthouse. It was abysmal. The audit score was very low for performance.
Subsequently, I had a session with a student, and she told me that all she saw on her screen on my page was the default aqua blue background color, and nothing else. Then I realized that not everyone is going to always have the greatest internet connection, and even on my devices, it was taking a long time for all 15 images to load. I knew then that I had to do something about it.
First I studied the Lighthouse audit details regarding how I could improve my page’s performance. It mentioned using a next-gen image format. Either AVIF or WebP. I looked up both, and WebP’s browser support was much better. So I went with that.
Next, I found a site that transformed jpgs into webp files. I transformed as many as I could until I maxed out my free trial, and then found another site to transform the rest. I also found out however, that I could use
Node.js to transform my jpgs into webp files, or I could download a converter on my computer using Homebrew and do it that way. In the future,
Node.js seems like the way I would want to go. But that is for another post!
Then I looked into whether there was a special way of adding webp to my
HTML markup, my
CSS, or even my
But that was not enough. My page paint was very expensive, so my Lighthouse audit score was not too much better. And load time in
Safari was still fairly slow. So what was I to do?
Then I thought of a
React project that I had just completed, where I was retrieving images from the
Robohash API and dynamically inserting the absolute path to these images retrieved from the
API as the value of the
src attribute. And sometimes, because of either the insertion approach or the
API performance (probably a little of both), an
image or two would render a the default
browser placeholder image if the actual one did not upload immediately. Now this was some terrible
I decided to add image lazy load functionality to my app. The difference was like night and day! No more
placeholder images. Virtually no more load time! So I also added
image lazy load functionality to my
For my purposes and edge case, I applied lazy load to all my images. I found that it sped up
load time a bit more. I have to study the API, but it is basically the same as what I added to my React app. The only difference is that I did it with the help of a
yarn package module.
Link to the page in question: https://www.letsbsocial.nyc/portfolio.html
Link to the repository in question: https://github.com/interglobalmedia/example-portfolio-site-namecheap
Link to the article I found regarding the WebP image file format on CSS Tricks: Using WebP Images
And if you don’t use Chrome and therefore don’t have the
Lighthouse Chrome extension for auditing site performance, progressive web apps, best practices, accessibility, or seo, you can use the following site tool instead: PageSpeed Insights. It audits sites basically in the same way as
Lighthouse. I just like
Lighthouse better. But I did find that audits are not equal
Created by Maria D. Campbell who lives and works in New York City building and teaching useful things. You should follow her on Twitter.