Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 24/05/14

Off The Scale

I'm aware of the perils of this falling into the 'people in glass houses' category - in the same way that Stapley's Third Law of Pedantry states that when you condescendingly correct someone else's spelling mistake you invariably commit a worse one in the course of your correction - but I have to sound off on the lack of awareness of some people who run websites of something so obvious that even I learned it nearly a decade ago.

If you find a graphics-heavy web page being slow to load, there may be a simple reason. When it has finally deigned to show you all the images, right-click on one of them (the larger ones are the most likely candidates) and view the image properties. Chances are that it will say something like "Dimensions: 720px x 1,024px (scaled to 584px x 831px)".

Now what that means is that - on the screen - the image will appear as being 584 pixels by 831. Fine. Except that what loads is not an image file with those dimensions. What loads is the full-size file of 720 by 1024. Hence the slowness.

I have to confess that Yer Judge His Very Self fell into this trap back in the early days of the site, and it took him not far short of two years to realise the error of his ways.

I can understand that there may be technical restraints on certain hosts and in certain site configurations which would militate against the correct method being used, or that most web-site owners may be reliant on programs to format their pages for them (rather than hand-coding them, which is what I have done for the past seven or eight years). Yet still and all, people who - or so you'd think - are far more savvy than me post images on their sites which fall foul of the same issue. And while we have, for the most part, left the days of 56k dial-up way behind, it's all still bandwidth when it comes down to it and the 'user experience' (Yeccchhhh!) should be the driving consideration.

(I confidently await the snarky comments from those who spot my own ongoing solecisms (like the use of the 'target=_blank' attribute to ensure that any link coded in that fashion will open in a new tab or window). That's just inertia on my part, and I might address it when I get time. In my own defence, all I will say is that the HTML Transitional standards permit it, so there).