I hate hate hate lazy load. Why? Because it hurts UX (user experience) at the benefit of maybe tricking page speed tests. It’s basically a cheap way of trying to speed up your page speed score by loading fewer items in the beginning. Problem is to the human eye, it makes things load slower!
Sure…there’s the logic that items farther down on the site shouldn’t be loaded if the user hasn’t scroll there. True…but do you really have control over which items are lazyloaded and are you so sure their delayed load won’t affect user experience?
Let me go deeper into the subject of when you should (and shouldn’t) use lazy load.
When you SHOULDN’T use lazy load:
- You have images above the fold. (it delays your header/banner load)
- You have a store. (shoppers can’t fast-scroll as quickly through your site)
- Doing it only to fool pagespeed scores. (while hurting UX for actual human users)
- You’ve got a CDN. (their servers do the work, and not yours)
- Have only a few images on each page. (static assets are easily cached and load quickly anyways)
- You have a fast-loading website and strong server. (no point in delayed asset loads if your current site and server handle them well)
The point of your website is to serve users first and robots/search-engines second. Why should you have an image that loads later rather than sooner? The point of the improving page loads is to load things FASTER, not slower. Letting your site load images right away makes your site appear to load faster for users. (Are you forgetting the word LAZY in “lazy load”? It means things load slower!)
Don’t know how to load things faster? That’s a fair place to be, you can improve it in a wide variety of ways! My site can help you with that.
When you SHOULD use lazy load:
- Most of your images are below the fold, at least a few scroll-clicks from the top of the site. (makes sense not to load images/items that users might not even scroll to)
- You’ve got huge images, and no CDN. (saves server resources/bandwidth)
- You’ve got many images, and no CDN. (saves server resources/bandwidth)
- Images aren’t integral to your user experience. (users come only for your text)
- Using it for SCRIPTS, not images. (perfect for speeding up page load)
- Your web-server is really weak. (lazy load will save server processing)
- You care about page scores. (and believe in their supposed benefits, even though I don’t)
So there you go, a few instances where I would recommend lazy load. But other than these few scenarios, it’s best to get a CDN and let all your image assets load naturally!
The last say on lazy load
Ultimately, lazyload should only be used to speed up page load or decrease server use. And NOT to compensate for poor web coding or underpowered web server. When used correctly, lazy load should have no visual impact on your web pages. Used incorrectly, lazy load affects user experience.