Look at the Big Picture

by Lyza Danger Gardner

7 Reader Comments

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  1. There is no easy answer, clearly. What we can accomplish technically always has to be weighed with many constraints and I love that you’ve brought attention to this particular one. It’s always a delicate dance to find the right solution not only for the persons using the sites we build, but also for the people who end up maintaining them. It’s unfortunate that these constraints don’t always align and sometimes compete. I’m grateful for the additional tools in the toolbox, though.

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  2. Thank you for writing this, it articulates a lot of the wariness I feel right now.

    While very respected and influential designers and standards experts are telling us how things should be, it’s very hard to keep up in the wake of their work.

    It’s a really exciting time to design and develop for the web, but there is almost too much for any one individual to get to grips with -  responsive images encapsulates a lot of this in just one problem.

    It’s easy to feel almost dis-empowered by the sheer range of “best practices” being espoused every day.

    I’m still optimistic about the future of web design and development, but like you, sometimes think that doing less (the right kind of less) can achieve more.

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  3. Hi,
    I’m experimenting with thoses responsive pictures problems since some months…

    The solution I choosed for my illustration website is to use the great Picturefill library (v2) :  it works today (with some few limitations).

    For art direction, the best way I found is to use a node and graph image editor, like the one in Blender. This allow to set up a graph once for all your sizes, and then reuse it infinitelly with just some tweakings for selecting the good crops for an image, and hit the render button.

    More explanation on the way it work here .
    Mikado is no more an active project, but others are taking shape, like imgflo.

    My website (really young, experimental for now, alpha status, do not suport anything bellow IE10) is here : http://nylnook.com

    I may give a conference at Libre Software Meeting in July to explain this workflow, but the program isn’t published yet.

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  4. Good article.  I share your anguish when dealing with and thinking of techniques for future image handling.  I think one option could be to put a standard on device sizes and resolutions.  As web developers we have standards that we must work within the confines of when creating new applications and websites.  Why can’t the developers and designers of the hardware work within these same standards?

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  5. Fantastic article.  I’ve always encouraged auto-compression techniques, but never endorse auto-crops.  For a semi-auto crop tool for your art directors, take a look @sizzlepig .  We took 8 hours of PhotoShop work down to 20 minutes for our Art Directors!

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  6. I’ve been trolling around this topic for about 2 weeks now… tinker with, and testing just about everything that looked like a valid or promising solution. Well, the most convincing, as it’s pretty future proof in that you don’t need to change your current image tags/markup or create more/alternate image files AT ALL, so it can be added/removed with ease, is called ADAPTIVE-IMAGES (dot) you know the rest. NO, it’s not mine… LOL. As with all, there’s a downfall, it ONLY works with images hosted on the same domain/server. It will get you UP TO SPEED with good FUNCTIONALITY plus the benefit of EASILY TRASHING and/or REPLACING it when something better comes along in the future. You can’t ask for much more. I’m going to write a blog post about it, and add some things that we coupled it with to make it work WONDERS.  I’m not a big commenter, but I felt like sharing this one.

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  7. By the way, the above mentioned also won’t REPLACE the image with a clear .GIF. I saved a few of those solutions; which is what Picture Fill (mentioned by “Camille”) and a few others do, to possibly use them for image SECURITY purposes instead; to prevent right-click saving of the images, i.e., they’ll get the clear .GIF instead.

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