TechSpot

Animated gif usage in articles

?

Animated gifs... worthwhile addition to articles?

  1. No, remove them. Videos with option to play or not are better.

    50.0%
  2. Yes, I like the use of them.

    25.0%
  3. Yes, but they should not be included in the mobile version due to high data usage.

    25.0%
By Arris
Sep 18, 2013
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  1. In the recent GTA V article Cliffordcooley and myself noticed the new "animated gif" usage on this page. They might be smaller in size than full videos but in total it's still 15.9MB of images. Probably not a problem for most modern home broadband but these are displayed on the mobile site too. At least with videos you have the option to play or not to play meaning you have control over loading that data. I know with internet speeds increasing we shouldn't be that bothered by a minor increase in size of pages but this would not be nice on your mobile device if you have a limited data allowance, especially given that none of the animations really show that much about the game itself. Perhaps if it was a gif showing steps in a configuration rather than having 5 screenshots it might be worthwhile but as it is I'm not sure they are worth using.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  2. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 6,540   +321

    Point taken and the feedback is most welcome. Thing is however, it's not a matter of IF, because the GTA V review wasn't really written by TS staff but was republished from Kotaku, with whom we have a strategic alliance to bring you quality gaming content.

    In this case they have relied pretty heavily on GIFs, and it'd appear it's a trend for them as of late. In our side of the fence, we don't plan to use GIFs in future in-house articles, or at least not in the foreseeable future and definitely not in the quantity they have in this GTA 5 review.

    Hope that helps to ease your mind, if not next time I'll tag the article with "GIF ALERT" or something. :eek:
     
    St1ckM4n, Arris and cliffordcooley like this.
  3. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,552   +97

    I thought it might have been a collaboration article but wasn't sure. No real problem just a consideration. It's a lot of data if you are a limited data allowance on a mobile device. Thanks for the reply, never expected less than the usual professional and informative reply :)
     
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,426   +317

    Many sites produce only one kind of page (ie for desktop systems) and attempt to get by without following the mobile web guidelines, which suggests very minimal use of graphic content. Sadly, to get the touch behaviors required, they straight convert web.pages -> mobile.pages without editing via the use of templates.

    As Julio has noted, imported content is beyond T.S. control :sigh:
     
  5. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 6,540   +321

    We are planning a major redesign for TS using a responsive design, requirement #1 will be to make it mobile first so you only load content that is needed on a smartphone, then tablet and finally desktop. The desktop version will be fully featured and heavier, but fancier. The smartphone version should be somewhat like our current mobile site, except that we'd no longer have to maintain two frontends for delivering content. Use of images will be about the same however, and we do intend to use larger, higher quality images in TS 3.0.
     
    Arris likes this.
  6. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,552   +97

    Rollback to 3DSpotlight design, it should be really lightweight compared to todays designs :)
     
  7. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,469   +622

    There's a lot of hate for gifs on Kotaku as well haha. I think they are fine on a browser as long as they don't litter the article with things that distract the eyes away from the text.

    On mobile, they shouldn't exist. Perhaps look into on-demand GIF loaders?
     
  8. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    Trying to satisfy everybody is always a tall order. While the limited capabilities of mobile devices can’t be ignored, on the other hand they shouldn’t dictate the standard either. Otherwise it will not only be unfair to desktop users,, but also render today’s wideband connections useless, give the board a backward image and may drive users away.

    But I agree that use of GIFs, though appealing when in reasonable amounts, it shouldn’t be excessive. There’s always a happy mean.
     
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,003   +1,503

    Wideband usage should be on demand not required. I already have to wait a bit for Techspot pages to render completely, automated video (or if you prefer specifying, large animated GIF's) makes loading even slower.

    I'm not going to beg or try to dictate what should be done. I will say I don't wait long for pages to render before I close them. For instance, I hated downloading drivers from ASUS. Their Website was so slow (presently couldn't say), I tried to avoid spending much time there. Now that I don't have ASUS products, I don't have a need in visiting that often.
     
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,426   +317

    FYI: IE has some developer tools which (amongst other things) can measure network performance. When enabled, clicking on a link to load a new page will not only list every HTTP GET request for all the resources, but also include the download time for each. This IMO is invaluable tool for profiling page performance between different platforms (eg mobile, tablet, desktop).

    The IE Toolbar is found here and the tutorial is here.

    FF 22.0 also has a tool but lacks the network profiling but great for development.

    Safari (for windows albeit has been withdrawn) has the best network profiler). Perhaps it's available on the Mac platform.
     


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