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The Motive Web Design Glossary

optimise/optimize, optimisation/optimization

The aim of optimisation is to reduce the time it takes to access a website (or run a program). Images, application and (X)HTML code can all be optimised.

Image optimisation

For imagery, optimisation involves choosing a suitable graphic compression format. Compression reduces the image filesize and consequently the time it takes to download and display in a browser. Common compression types include GIF, JPEG and PNG. Many compression formats reduce filesize by removing information from the image (downsampling). For example, the JPEG format reduces overall tonal range to reduce filesize—reducing the tonal range means that highlights and shadows become less pronounced.

Reducing the number, and filesize of the images can be a significant issue for websites with large subscriber bases such as news sites. Site owners are charged for the amount of information (data) downloaded from their sites (traffic). The more popular the site and larger the images the greater the traffic costs.

(X)HTML optimisation

Using CSS significantly improves the speed of a website—a single stylesheet can be used for all pages but is downloaded only once.

The time it takes for a webpage to display is affected by a number of factors:

Search engine optimisation

Webpages can also be optimised for to improve ranking on search results pages (search engine optimisation).

Related terms: download/upload, GIF, JPEG, PNG

References and further reading


Motive Web Design Glossary Trivia