Meet Image Optimization, A New Smashing Book By Addy Osmani — Smashing Magazine

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Meet Image Optimization, A New Smashing Book By Addy Osmani

Meet Image Optimization, A New Smashing Book By Addy Osmani

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Meet “Image Optimization”, our practical modern guide to delivering high-quality images on the web with the best performance. 528 pages. From formats and compression to delivery and maintenance. Jump to details and get the book right away.

Images have been a key part of the web for decades. Our brains interpret images much faster than text, which is why high-quality visuals drive conversions and user engagement. Just think about landing pages and product photos, feature panels and hero areas. To be effective, all these images need to be carefully orchestrated to appear on the screen fast — but as it turns out, loading images efficiently at scale isn’t a project for a quiet afternoon.

Image optimization, loading behavior and rendering in the browser require understanding of image formats and image compression techniques, image decoding and browser rendering, image CDNs and adaptive media loading, not to mention effective caching and preloading. Let’s figure it all out.

For a thorough guide on image optimization, we’ve teamed up with Addy Osmani, an engineer manager working on Google Chrome and focusing around performance for decades. The result is a book with everything you need to optimize your images and display them swiftly, without being slowed down along the way.

Print + eBook

Quality hardcover. Free worldwide shipping, starting late May. 100 days money-back-guarantee.

DRM-free, of course.
ePUB, Kindle, PDF.
Included with Smashing Membership.

About The Book

Next to videos, images are the heaviest, most requested assets on the web. Some of the biggest size savings and performance improvements can come through a better image optimization strategy. So how do we encode, deploy, serve and maintain images over time? Our new book explores just that. Check free PDF preview (3MB).

Addy’s new book focuses on what matters: modern approaches to image compression and image delivery, practical tools and techniques to automate optimization, responsive images, current and emerging image formats, how browsers load, decode and render images, CDNs, lazy-loading, adaptive media loading and how to optimize for Core Web Vitals. Everything in one, single, 528-pages book.

Image Optimization will help you deliver high-quality responsive images in the best format and size, and at the moment when your users need them the most. Packed with useful tips and techniques, the book has a sharp focus on practical application and longevity of your image optimization strategies. Jump to table of contents ↓

You’ll learn:

Table Of Contents

Images help us tell a story and better engage with our customers. There is no shortage of high-quality photos around us, but how to do we encode, deploy, serve and maintain them?

The 23 chapters of our shiny new book explore just that.

1. The Humble <img> Element

The humble <img> element has gained some superpowers over the years. Given how central it is to image optimization on the web, let’s catch up on what it can do.

2. Optimizing Image Quality

Most optimization tools allow you to set the level of quality you’re happy with. Lower quality reduces file size but can introduce artifacts, halos, or blocky degrading.

3. Comparing Image Formats

Each new image format has a range of effectiveness if you compare and align on a consistent “quality” of experience. In this chapter, we will explore the challenge of defining quality and setting expectations when converting between formats.

4. Color Management

Ideally, every screen and web browser in the world would display color in exactly the same way. Unfortunately, they don’t. Color management allows us to reach a compromise on displaying color through color models, spaces, and profiles.

5. Image Decoding Performance

How quickly an image can be decoded determines how soon browsers can show it to the user. Keeping this efficient helps ensure a good user experience. Let’s dig deeper into image decoding to understand how browsers perform behind the scenes and how you can control decoding.

6. Measuring Image Performance

In this chapter, we will look into how to use Lighthouse to audit for unoptimized images and how to monitor a web performance budget for images.


The JPEG may well be the world’s most widely used image format. Let’s examine JPEG’s compression modes as these can have a significant impact on perceived performance.

8. PNG

From the very basics to palette modes, index and alpha transparency, and compression tips, in this chapter we’ll take an in-depth look at PNGs.

9. WebP

WebP is a relatively recent image format developed with the aim of offering lower file sizes for lossless and lossy compression at an acceptable visual quality. Let’s explore how to use WebP images in production today.

10. SVG

There are a number of ways to implement SVGs in a web page. In this chapter, we’ll take a look at different approaches and at how to keep your SVGs lean and performant.

11. Responsive Images

Using responsive images is a key part of delivering fully responsive web design. This chapter covers techniques for defining responsive images.

12. Progressive Rendering Techniques

There are many progressive image loading techniques that can shorten perceived load time. In this chapter, we’ll look at different ways of progressively loading images to improve performance and the user experience.

13. Optimizing Network Requests with Caching and Preloading

Downloading files such as images or videos over the network can be slow and costly. HTTP caching, service workers, image spriting, and preloading help optimize network requests. Let’s explore how they work.

14. Lazy-Loading Offscreen Images

Web pages often contain a large number of images, contributing to page bloat, data costs, and how fast a page can load. Let’s take a look at how lazy-loading offscreen images can help improve the situation.

15. Replacing Animated GIFs

If you’re aiming to improve the loading performance of your pages, animated GIFs aren’t very compatible with that goal. But this is an area of loading performance where, without a lot of work, you can get significant gains without a loss of content quality.

16. Image Content Delivery Networks

For sites with large traffic and a global reach, basic optimizations at build time are usually not enough. CDNs help teams to handle known static assets ahead of time as well as dynamic assets to improve load times and site reliability.

17. HEIF and HEIC

While other image formats may offer broader compatibility, HEIF is worth being familiar with as you may have users wishing to work with this format on iOS.

18. AVIF

AVIF aims to produce high-quality compressed images that lose as little quality as possible during compression. Let’s dive deeper into its features, browser support, and performance.


JPEG XL is an advanced image format aiming to deliver very significant compression benefits over JPEG. In this chapter, we’ll take a closer look at what it has to offer.

20. Comparing New Image File Formats

While the new image formats support roughly the same sets of capabilities, the strength of each differentiates between them. The tables in this chapter aim to offer a summary of some of the more important features and how well each format handles various image types.

21. Delivering Light Media Experiences with Data Saver

Browsers with Data Saver features give users a chance to explicitly tell us that they want to use a site without consuming so much data. Let’s see how to make use of Data Saver to deliver light media experiences.

22. Optimize Images for Core Web Vitals

Which metrics should you focus on to improve the user experience? Core Web Vitals focuses on three key aspects of user experience: page loading experience, interaction readiness, and the visual stability of the page. Let’s take a look at each one of them.

23. Twitter’s Image Pipeline (Case Study)

Tweets are often accompanied by images to illustrate, amuse, and increase user engagement. That is why Twitter places so much emphasis on a strong image optimization process. This case study focuses on the different steps that Twitter has taken to load images faster while ensuring they are as impactful as intended.

528 pages. The eBook is available right away (PDF, ePUB, Amazon Kindle). Shipping of the printed book will start late May. Written by Addy Osmani. Designed by Espen Brunborg and Nadia Snopek.

Print + eBook

Quality hardcover. Free worldwide shipping, starting late May. 100 days money-back-guarantee.

DRM-free, of course.
ePUB, Kindle, PDF.
Included with Smashing Membership.

About the Author

Addy Osmani is an engineering manager working on Google Chrome. His team focuses on speed, helping keep the web fast. Devoted to the open-source community, Addy’s past open-source contributions include Lighthouse (an auditing tool for performance and web best practices), Workbox (libraries for offline-caching files using service workers), Yeoman (the web scaffolding tool), Critical (the critical-path CSS optimization tool), and TodoMVC. Addy is the author of the book .

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Community Matters ❤️

Producing a book takes quite a bit of time, and we couldn’t pull it off without the support of our wonderful community. A huge shout-out to Smashing Members for the kind, ongoing support. The eBook is and always will be . Plus, Members get a friendly discount when purchasing their printed copy. Just sayin’! 😉

Stay smashing, and thank you for your ongoing support, everyone!

Print + eBook

Quality hardcover. Free worldwide shipping, starting late May. 100 days money-back-guarantee.

DRM-free, of course.
ePUB, Kindle, PDF.
Included with Smashing Membership.

More Smashing Books & Goodies

Promoting best practices and providing you with practical tips to master your daily coding and design challenges has always been (and will be) at the core of everything we do at Smashing.

In the past few years, we were very lucky to have worked together with some talented, caring people from the web community to publish their wealth of experience as printed books that stand the test of time. Paul and Adam are some of these people. Have you checked out their books already?

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