Yesterday, I wrote about how to optimize images for the web using Photoshop. There are also a number of free applications that can help you squeeze your image files down in size, and one in particular that is particularly good is Smush.it from Yahoo.
As mentioned in the previous post, despite the near ubiquity of broadband in some parts of the world, there are still plenty of people working off a slow connection. To ensure your web pages load very quickly for everyone, and in the process hopefully keeping your visitors that little bit longer, all of your images should be optimized.
Photoshop does a good job with image optimization, as does Illustrator and Fireworks, but Smush.it can really compress the living daylights out of your images producing very small file sizes. It can process JPG, GIF, and PNG images that are up to one megabyte in size. From the Smush.it website;
Smush.it uses optimization techniques specific to image format to remove unnecessary bytes from image files. It is a “lossless” tool, which means it optimizes the images without changing their look or visual quality.
Mini Case Study
In yesterday’s post I uploaded a photographic image of a flower. The image file size was 159KB. On the Smush.it homepage, I entered the URL of that image and the result is shown below.
Smush.it squashed the same image down to 112KB, a saving of 47KB. The resulting image file is listed as a link and can be downloaded. The service is quick and free.
Smush.it is also available as a WordPress plug-in here
With the Smush.it WordPress plug-in installed on your blog, any new image you add to the Post and Pages are automatically optimized behind the scenes. You don’t need to do anything! With existing images on your blog, you can select an image from the Media Library and press the Smush.it Now button.
There is also a Firefox plug-in, called Yslow available, which includes Smush.it. I installed the plug-in and at the time of writing, it didn’t work properly for me. However, this may be something to do with the latest update of Firefox.
Have you used Smush.it to optimize images? Did you find it useful?