Victoria's Secret Mobile Site Chokes On Plus-Size Images

First Victoria's Secret's (NYSE:LTD) mobile website choked during the last week of June, resulting in slow content delivery, failed connections and damaged or missing content. The next week it was fine, according to web monitor Keynote, with no clear explanation for the change. And the week after that, the site choked again—but this time Keynote has an explanation. It seems the lingerie retailer revamped its home page, and many of the new images were in PNG format instead of the JPEGs the site had been using. Result: The home page ballooned to almost five times its previous size.

Yes, those PNG images look great to site designers, and they should: They use lossless compression, so they can be repeatedly manipulated without losing image quality. JPEG, on the other hand, degrades if it's resized too much. That doesn't mean designers shouldn't use PNG. It means IT should be converting those files to JPEGs as the very last step before a new page goes live. (IT should also have tested that page with actual phones to discover it took nearly 20 seconds to load and frequently timed out.) When it comes to images on a mobile website, less really is more. We'd have thought Victoria's Secret, of all retailers, would have figured that out.

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