WebP Format and Lazy Loading Come To EverWeb
WebP Format and Lazy Loading Come To EverWeb
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EverWeb’s New WebP Image Export Format For Faster Page Loading Speeds, High Quality Images!

Two of the biggest features of the recent EverWeb 4.1 release for Windows and Mac, will up your page loading speeds with minimal effort on your part! Here’s our deep dive in to EverWeb‘s new WebP format support and the new Lazy Loading feature!

All About WebP format in EverWeb
The WebP format has been around for a long while, having been devised and developed by Google since about 2010. The goal of the project was to find a way to replace existing image formats, such as JPEG, GIF and PNG, with a new standard image format that offered both better image compression and equal, or superior, image quality than found in existing image file formats. WebP format was the result of this effort, finally coming to fruition in 2018 after an eight year development period. Since then it’s taken time for different browsers to adopt and support this new standard. As support for WebP format is now sufficient, it’s time to add it to EverWeb’s features!

Why WebP Format?
As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages in using WebP format. Fortunately there are mostly positives in this regard. Here are the key advantages:

  1. Better Compression Means Smaller Files: Using WebP format often gives you better compression than other image file formats and so you will have smaller file sizes as a result. This equates to faster loading times for your site’s pages!!
  2. Faster Page Loading: Smaller files download faster from the source meaning faster page load speeds, and reduced bandwidth usage. There’s also a possible positive side effect on your site’s SEO as because page speed also play a part in your site’s search ranking!
  3. Image Files Use Lossless and Lossy Compression: These two types of compression mean that your images keep their quality even though they are smaller in size.
  4. Move Over PNG Files? Just as PNG files support transparency i.e. images can have a transparent background, so does WebP. Both formats achieve this through Alpha Channel support.
  5. Move Over GIF’s?: WebP is a versatile format as it even supports animation so could replace GIF files. It has the advantage of smaller file size which, again means that your file will load faster than a GIF would.
  6. Adoption by Web Browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Opera all support the WebP format.
  7. Google and SEO: As a Google development the company actively promotes its use. As such including files of this type in your website may help your site’s search engine ranking.

So far so good, but there some things that you should keep in mind before you adopt WebP format for your site…

  1. Older Browsers Beware: Most modern browsers now support WebP but there are plenty of older browsers out there which don’t, and won’t be able to, support this new standard.
  2. Backup for WebP Format: Following on from the last point, you may still need to include other older image file types such as JPEG or PNG in order to be able to support older browsers. The good news here is that EverWeb will do this for you when you publish your site.
  3. Potential for Compression Artefacts: It’s also possible that the file compression used by WebP may result in image compression artefacts. This problem may be noticeable especially when using highly detailed images. EverWeb will try to process and optimize the images files as best as possible to to avoid such instances.

How to Use WebP Format In Your Site
Implemeting the new WebP format is easy, it’s just checking one checkbox! First go to your Site Publishing Settings. You can do this by either clicking on the name of your website in the Web Page List, or by using the File-> Edit Publishing Settings menu option. Once you see the Site Publishing Settings screen, go to the EverWeb Location, Folder Location or FTP Server Details section depending on where you are publishing to. In this section you will see an option to ‘Export Optimized Images’. Check the box next to this option if it not already checked. That’s ask you need to do! When you publish your website, EverWeb will generate the optimized WebP Image Formatted files during the publishing. Next time you launch your website, you should see the improvements immediately.

AAI’s Recommendation…
Our recommendation is to use the new WebP format as it will speed your page load times considerably. Probably the main reason not to use this file format is if you know that you user community operates on outdated browser software. Even then, though, EverWeb’s coded to use fallback image formats in these cases instead, so you will not lose out by using WebP. This gives you a Win-Win situation as users running on old browsers will continue to use older image file formats whilst users on newer browsers can enjoy the speed benefits of the WebP format.

Using EverWeb’s New Lazy Loading Feature
The second new feature that helps improve page load speeds is Lazy Loading. As its name implies, Lazy Loading only loads image files in to the page being viewed when they are needed. This means that if a page has images that are not immediately seen when the page loads in the browser, the unseen images will not load until the visitor scrolls down the page. This is, therefore, of great benefit to your page loading times as the page can load what is essential immediately without having to load unnecessary image files that aren’t being ‘actively’ viewed by the visitor.

Combining Lazy Loading and WebP Format in your EverWeb site will, therefore, mean that you pages load a lot faster than before and will feel more responsive on user interaction.

How to Use Lazy Loading
As with WebP format, using Lazy Loading is easy! Simply select the image that you want to Lazy Load, then go to the Shape Options tab. Check the box against the ‘Lazy Load Image’ option. Repeat for all images that you want to Lazy Load. You can also Lazy Load images in Master Pages as well. Once finished just publish you site!

WebP Format and Lazy Loading offer are two great new tools that when used in combination with each other should revolutionize you page load times!

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