Today our tech team have launched a huge update to the Sketchanet service that will make your websites much quicker to load, especially if you have a lot of large images. A website that loads quickly is great for your visitors and also great for your SEO, as fast websites score better in search engine rankings.
To achieve this we have made your image filesizes much smaller, so they load more quickly. To make your images smaller, we are leveraging two new image file formats , WebP and AVIF. WebP has been around for quite a while (although browser support was originally quite limited) and delivers modest filesize savings of around 30%. However the newest format, AVIF, delivers really impressive file size savings of 50% or more. In some of our tests, a large JPEG image that was 1.2Mb was reduced to just 190Kb in the AVIF format, with no loss in quality. That's a big deal.
AVIF is currently supported in Chrome, Opera, and the latest versions of Firefox, while WebP is supported in all other modern browsers except for Safari (yeah, Safari is a bit behind the times). However Safari on macOS 11 Big Sur and later does support WebP. The upshot is that the huge majority of your website visitors will be able to benefit from either of the two new formats.
To make sure that your visitors can see your images no matter what device or browser they are using, we still default to showing the old JPEG or PNG formats. However, if your visitor's browser supports AVIF we load the AVIF images and failing that if their browser supports WebP then we load the WebP images. This all happens intelligently behind the scenes for all Sketchanet customers.
Do I need to do anything on my site?
In terms of uploading new images, no, you don't need to make any changes to your images on your site - we generate the new image formats automatically from your existing images. For inline images this will already be happening on your website. However due to the nature of the platform, your background images will only be able to make use of the new image formats after the next time you publish your website. So, to get your site up and running with the new formats throughout, all you need to do is log into the Sketchanet editor and publish your site.
First viewing delay
One important note, however, is that on the very first viewing of your pages after you publish (this one time), your images will take longer to show up. This is because the platform will be generating the new image formats on the fly. This is a one time event though - those new images are then stored forever and will never need to be regenerated. So our recommendation would be to publish your site, and then go through all the pages to force the generation of the all the new image formats, and then your site visitors will be enjoying faster page loading from then on.
Can I upload the new image formats myself?
No. We need each original source image to be in one of the fully supported images formats, JPEG or PNG, so please continue to upload new images in one of these two formats. (You can also upload animated GIF images and SVG images, neither of which are effected at all by this change), and the Sketchanet platform will create the aditional WebP and AVIF formats from the orignal upload.