Stripping down your images to the bare essentials

I’m going to write an article on how to present images on your website tomorrow, but before that, here’s a useful tool which you might like to have a play with. Yahoo!’s Smush.it does one simple thing, and that’s to reduce the file size of any images you upload to it. The tool tries different image reduction algorithms and figures out which one gives the best result; it might, for example, convert GIF files to PNG files if that would reduce the size. It can “strip unneeded chunks” from PNGs, try progressive JPEGs, and optimize GIF animations by stripping repeating pixels in different frames. But you don’t need to know about that. If you have an image on your website which is quite large, and on a popular page, copy its URL (the image, not the page) into Smush.it and see if the tool can make it smaller. If it can, then just swap the reduced image with the old one. Nobody will see any difference, except faster page loading times – and that has to be a good thing.

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