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Are HEIF File Formats the Future of Responsive Web Designs?

Web Development

Responsive Web Designs

Did you know that 66% of consumers prefer to see beautiful web design as opposed to something basic?

When it comes to the digital presence, web design is a crucial element that dominates the fate of your e-business.

So, how exactly do you achieve beauty or capture the essence of an alluring vision in screen space?

By utilizing the right content to HTML ratio, having spicy landing page designs, organizing symmetrical folds, and, most importantly, equipping the webpage with the right images.

However, adding too many images, as we all know, much to our chagrin, makes the webpages slow and unresponsive.  

Apple has a Glowing SOLUTION!

If you are wondering why Apple decided to dive in with a solution, wonder no more!

You see, the biggest problem with iOS phones these days – besides the short span of battery life, is the limited storage space.

Without the option to extend storage using memory cards, you are bound to run out of storage options. So how exactly do we tackle this annoying problem?

To somehow neutralize this major problem, Apple ensured that iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra operating systems support the new revolutionary graphics format, HEIF file format.

WELCOME TO THE FUTURE OF FILE FORMATS

Apple user’s image storage problems found a convenient solution for web design snags as well.

How are these two related?

If you don’t know already, there is an increasing variety of smartphones and devices. Ranging from a vast spectrum of screen sizes in terms of phones, tablets, even phablets to tiny smartwatch screens, the variety is endless.

In this raging competition and continuous addition to screen sizes, an e-business needs to take a lot of factors into consideration to cater to its audience.

This is where responsive websites come into play.

No matter how beautiful of a site you have created, if it is not compatible with the variety of devices available, what’s the point?

The compatibility is not just in terms of size. But in terms of network conditions as well.

Ergo, Responsive Web Design has become the norm.

Besides….

You cannot deny the fact that the size of the images and visuals used plays a pivotal role in web responsiveness.

And this is precisely why HEIF makes an exciting format for the World Wide Web.

One Format to Rule Them All

HEIF file format has made life easier for most of us.

It has removed load time and space issues from the equation, making it balanced and neat.

Why are HEIF File formats the future of responsive web design?

HEIF file formats are the revolution in the world of limited storage space we have all been waiting for. It requires only half as much storage space compared to JPEG format.

It is said to consume 50% less bandwidth and storage space.

Impressive, right?

 

What about industry standards?

While we understand JPEG and MP4 are the oldest and most popularly used file formats, it is about time they retired.

HEIF is here to stay, and nobody can argue with that.

But what exactly is a HEIF File Format?

HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image Format, which is essentially a modern replacement for the good old’ JPEG. Often, HEIF has the .HEIC file extension.

To sum it up,

HEIF is the better version of JPEG.

With smaller file size and higher quality, HEIF File Format is based on the High Efficiency Video Compression format, also known as HEVC or H.265.

A HEIF file may contain still images, image bursts, image collections, and image sequences and store metadata that describes each image.

But HEIF isn’t just about file sizes.

It has a plethora of features that are equally impressive and worthy, especially for web design.

Wondering what they are? Sit tight, because we have covered all the benefits just down below!

HEIF FILE FORMAT IN ALL ITS GLORY

Due to the improved compression, HEIF images can be swiftly encoded and decoded, utilizing less space with faster load time. Thus, aiding in web design as well.

IS THAT IT?

No.

What can the new HEIF file format do?

HEIF is no ordinary image format. As we said, it is the better version of JPEG. Why? HEIF is more like a container format, which allows it to combine any number of pictures that can be encoded in different formats. 

How does it work?

HEIF stores individual images marked as ‘items’ and allows each to contain any number of items. Furthermore, the container format also lets image sequences known as ‘tracks’ to be stored. Ergo, an indicator is used to show whether the HEIF file format viewer should display them as animations or as galleries as required.

CIRCLING BACK… To wrap it up nicely, HEIF File Formats use less space and thus are great in terms of web responsiveness and web design.

 

 

With smaller sizes taking up less space, you can upload as many images as you want. And they will not contribute to an increase in load time as well!

Not bad, right?

HEIF file format is an improvement over the previously used file formats (JPEG & PNG) in every way. By utilizing the modern compression schemes, it can save the same amount of data in half the size, puttingJPEG to shame!

But that isn’t its only shinning feature. Dominant sure, but not the only one.

JPEG format, as we all know, supports still images only. HEIC file format, on the other hand, can contain a sequence of images like GIF files as well. Moreover, this format supports 4K, 3D, and transparency, and they can be rotated, cropped, and edited with ease.

Does JPEG extend the same benefits for its users? We don’t think so!

We keep writing about how amazing HEIF File Format is, jam-packed with numerous features. But what exactly are they?

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the plethora of features HEIF has to offer.

BENEFITS. BENEFITS. BENEFITS.

The web design ‘industry standard’ as we know it, JPEG, dates back to 1992. Yes, it was updated, but that too was back in 1994. Since then, the world has advanced a lot, but the file format remained constant.

So, it’s no surprise that a modern standard is ready to surpass it now.

Below we have listed a few benefits to convince you more about how amazing and convenient this new standard actually is!

1.    COLOR & TRANSPARENCY

HEIF file format surpasses JPEG in every element. When it comes to color and transparency, HEIF supports 16-bit color, which is a worthwhile upgrade compared to JPEG’s 8-bit color. Considering how important colors are in web design, 16-bit color is quite an upgrade.

2.    EASE IN EDITING

HEIF file format facilitates numerous editing options, including rotation, cropping, titles, and overlays. These images can be stored without altering the underlying image. This also allows us to make edits later on as well, which makes it easier for developers in web design to make changes as required.

3.    DATA STORAGE

We know that HEIC files are containers. This allows them to store different types of data, including:

Images with properties and thumbnails
Image derivations (that gets generated during run-time)
Image sequences that are made up of multiple time-related or temporally predicted images. For instance, photo bursts and cinematographs
Auxiliary data including alpha planes, depth maps and even audio


Metadata such as EXIF and XMP information related to the images in the HEIC file

4.    SMALLER AND BETTER

The feature we adore the most – it takes up half the storage space. HEIF is essentially the still-image version of HVEC/H.265. The biggest flex of HEIF file format (or .HEIC) is that not only does it store images in a small space, but it does not compromise on the quality, unlike JPG.

This means that you can now upload twice as many photos on your web design without worrying about slowing down the page speed.

What’s Next?

Alright, you get it. HEIF File Format is great for web design. But like any other format, it has its downside as well. Read below to find out.

DRAWBACKS!

The only downside to the HEIF file format is compatibility.

Yeah… We know we have been stating that HEIF is super flexible and compatible.

But…

Only in case, the entire world decides to adopt it and use it.

You see, currently, we are living in a JPEG world. This is the reason why Apple’s iOS 11 automatically converts its HEIF images to JPEG upon exporting and importing.

On the other hand, Windows, unlike Apple, doesn’t offer any built-in support for such files. If you want to view the HEIF file format, you will need a third-party image viewer or conversion software.

But… We Are Hopeful!

Google has announced that it will soon be adding HEIF file format support to Android as well. So, hopefully, Microsoft will jump on the train as well in the near future.

In A Nutshell…

For the immediate future, HEIF file format is limited to iOS 11, tvOS 11, and macOS High Sierra. It is important to note that while this format surely has made its consumer debut on Apple’s devices, it isn’t an Apple technology.

HEIF file format is based on the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) standards, which was presented in 2015 after a development phase of 1.5 years. It was popularized in 2017 when Apple adopted it.

Apple’s iOS 11 users now enjoy high-quality pictures that take up less space. If the rest of the world adopts the HEIF file format as well, the entire web will operate much quicker than imaginable.

And there you have it!

So, is HEIF the first nail in JPEG’s coffin? Feel free to share your thoughts about this with us. We’d love to hear from you. See you in the next post!

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