skip to content

Mastering Website Images: Tips to Enhance Your Online Presence

Posted on May 17, 2024
Share

Managing website images for responsive websites involves optimizing images for various screen sizes and resolutions to ensure they load quickly and appear correctly across different devices. Here's are a few tips on how to manage website images for responsive website design.

Understanding Responsive Web Design 

Responsive web design is an approach to building websites that ensures they look good and work well on various devices and screen sizes, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Below you can see a simple illustrating the basic concept of responsive design. In the responsive column you see how percentages are used instead of pixels to scale images to smaller device and in the non-responsive column you can see how the pixels get cut off when the website is viewed on a smaller device. It is for this reason that when we are talking about responsive design we must not only consider the pixels of an image but more importantly understand the aspect ratio. We will get into some examples of this later on but you could look at this example as the top row being a 4:1 aspect ratio (desktop) and the second row comprising of two 2:1 (phone) containers.

Non responsive
responsive image

 

Preparing Your Images

Before adding images to your website, make sure that you prepare your images by choosing the right file type, adjusting the image to the aspect ratio of the container you are adding the image to and optimizing the image by compressing it. 

1. Set Image Dimensions 

Make sure to set the image dimensions to match those of the image container on your website. We make this easy for editors by including the pixel dimensions next to the image upload.

image size input field

While responsive coding will automatically change the size of your image to fit the entirety of the container you want to have the same aspect ratio to avoid unwanted cropping. If you do not have image editing software, there are plenty of free online image editors that will allow you to resize your images

Free photo editing software alternatives to Photoshop: 

There are 3 important functions you will need to manage images: 1) resize, 2) crop and 3) save. All these features are available on the following free online software:  Adobe Express and  Free Online Image Editor 

The table below uses some examples of common aspect ratios found in web design.

Example of Image Aspect Ratio's
Image Type  Image Dimensions
(W x H in pixels)
Image Aspect Ratio
Full height Image 1920 x 1080 
1600 x 900
16:9 
Hero Banner 1920 x 480
1600 x 400
4:1
Rectangle 1080 x 720 
600 x 400 
300 x 200
3:2 
Rectangle 800 x 400
400 x 200
200 x 100
2:1
Rectangle 640 x 480 4:3
Square 1080 x 1080
400 x 400 
100 x 100
1:1

2. Choose the correct file format for your images

JPEG is best for photographs and images with many colors, while PNG is best for images with transparency or sharp edges. SVG is ideal for icons and simple graphics that need to scale without losing quality. 

3. Always Optimize Your Images 

Once you have set your image to right dimensions and have saved them as the right file type you will need to optimize for the web. Optimization is simply reducing the file size of images without compromising quality. Generaly when you upload the orginal photo file its can be several megabytes in size. Uploading these huge images to your website will make page loading much slower. You can use the free online tools like TinyPNG or Image Recycle to compress images for web. With these free tools you can usually get image files to be 50 to 60% smaller without a noticeable difference in quality.  

Consider Accessibility and SEO

File Names

Selecting appropriate file names for your images can positively impact your page's SEO ranking for image search results. Ensure that the file name includes relevant and descriptive keywords, avoiding the use of underscores.

When considering accessibility, we need to consider the fact that screen readers cannot read images so they are limited to interpretting images by the image file name as well as the alt tags. It is for this reason that image buttons fail accessibility standards.  

Here are some examples of how to optimize your image and alt tags for screen readers: 

Image name:Sample_Image.png” is not as good as “Woman-holding-baby.jpg” 

Avoid using underscores, instead use hyphens and try to describe what the image is about. 

ALT Tags

Accurate ALT tags assist search engines to understand the content of your images, aiding in the search indexing of your sites content. Additionally, ALT tags are utilized by screen readers to describe images to visually impaired users, which required to be accessible. It's crucial to fill in the ALT tag field where you upload the image and describe images naturally without keyword stuffing. Fill out the field how you would describe the image to someone unable to see it. Ie Alt tag: “Sample_Image.png” is not as good as “Woman Holding Baby” 

Avoid using the file name as the alt tag. Also consider the fact that website crawlers read the same information as screen readers so if you use keywords that are part of your SEO strategy in the image names and ALT tags you will be both accessible and better optimized for search engines. 

Thumbnail alt text

 

Never Embed Text in an Image! 

Here are the 4 most important reasons embedded text in images should be avoided: 

  1. It's not accessible because screen readers used by visually impaired individuals cannot interpret words embedded within images.  
  2. Search engines primarily index text content, so words embedded within images is not easily readable by search engines and therefore ignored. 
  3. Text embedded within images doesn't scale well across different devices and screen sizes. It becomes very hard to read since it shrinks on a phone. (show example)  
  4. If text needs to be updated or corrected, it requires editing the image itself, which can only be done using an image editor like Photoshop (or the free tools listed above) and then reloading the image. 

Summary

Images play an important role in optimizing your website's performance and engaging your audience. We hope that you have found these image management tips helpful. If you have any questions about anything we have covered in this article or want to schedule a call, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Author
Blog post author Alex

Alex

Senior Project Manager

Alex has over 10 years of experience managing digital projects with a background in Psychology and Web Design.

Related Insights

How Can We Help

Tell Us About Your Project
X