What is Lazy Loading? Why, How, What, and Everything In-between!

May 22, 2023

What makes lazy loading so special that over 3,000,000 websites worldwide utilize it? Lazy loading is a technique used by websites to improve their performance. Instead of loading all the content on a page at once, the website only loads the content that is visible to the user. This improves the user experience and reduces the amount of data that needs to be transferred.

To understand more about lazy loading let’s go back to the beginning of the web era, where websites didn’t have any designs at all. They were just plain text because HTML or any other markup language didn’t allow creating layouts. Also, people had limited internet access, and the connections were also pretty slow. Websites were built pretty basic taking all of these factors into consideration.

Look at CERN’s website that went live in November 1992. This was the very first website and completely text based. The default blue hypertext was the only splash of color. Setting up a page and getting it live was a big task on its own, during those times.

But as time passed websites started getting more colorful and interactive. And, websites today are created as per our imagination without any restrictions. To an extent that they are looked up as pieces of art. This is possible because of new technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

The increase in design and interactions have naturally led to increase in the page sizes. The average web page weight has grown to 3719kB as of 2022. Out of which images and videos make up nearly 78%. It takes a lot of time to completely download and render the whole website on the user’s screen.

That’s when lazy loading comes to play! Let’s discover the What(s), How(s) and Why(s) of Lazy Loading in detail.

What is Lazy Loading?

Yeah, the name does sound strange. But, mind you it is one of the coolest things that enhance and optimize digital experience. Lazy loading is a web optimization process that loads the image at the top of the page or the top view-port content first. The downloading and rendering of content below the fold/view port is delayed.

To understand in simpler terms, the part of the web page which is visible to you on your screen is called a view-port. So, everything on the first view-port, be it images, videos, content, etc. loads first.

As you scroll down the page, the content is downloaded progressively. The lazy loader ensures that it only downloads images when they are about to become visible, which happens quickly and without the user’s knowledge. As a result, the page appears to load normally.

Developers often utilize lazy loading to incorporate high-resolution images and videos into a website. However, a website implement lazy loading for other elements such as JavaScript, CSS, fonts, advertisements, maps, and social media widgets. What this does is, greatly reduces the loading speed of the page. Providing a significant boost to website performance and of course, leading to a more enhanced user experience.

Let’s discover the What(s), How(s) and Why(s) of Lazy Loading in detail.

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