Re: The picture element: complexity

On Thu, 12 Sep 2013 13:50:08 +0200, Anselm Hannemann  
<> wrote:

> Hi Simon,
> while I totally understand <picture> with its source elements is complex  
> to implement and needs more tests than a simple attribute I wonder what  
> you would propose as alternative to e.g. media-query usage within source  
> elements. This is needed to solve the art direction use-case  
> (

Art direction based on viewport width is supported by srcset.

> amongst others (like high-contrast or print – compare:  

The example with the pie chart that wants colors on color devices but a  
wide gray scale on non-color devices could be implemented using an SVG  
image with media queries in CSS.

For the print case, it's not clear to me that it is a good idea to block  
printing a page on downloading a heavy image compared to providing a link  
to a page with heavy images (e.g. a PDF) for printing that the user can  
navigate to and print.

> If you have an idea how this could be solved using an easier to  
> implement syntax, I would be happy to help doing this. Simply I believe  
> (and know for certain) the srcset attribute alone is not enough to solve  
> the 'Responsive Images' problem entirely.

I see several options.

(1) Use only <img src> and serve a scaled down low quality high-resolution  
image to everyone (which is the same size in bytes as a high quality  
low-resolution image and is visually good enough on both low and high  
resolution devices), and solve the art direction use cases with CSS  
clipping and rotation etc.

For devices that don't have a high-resolution screen and/or have limited  
memory, the browser can store a scaled down version of the image in  
memory. I'm told JPEG can be decoded at half of the resolution for free  
( ). It would be a  
good idea for browsers to do that regardless of what we do for responsive  
images to have a nicer failure mode when loading big images on  
memory-constrained devices.

(2) Go with srcset and leave the use cases it doesn't address to SVG or  

(3) Redesign the picture element to encode the same information in  
attributes on <img>.

For instance, change

<picture width="500" height="500">
    <source media="(min-width: 45em)" srcset="large-1.jpg 1x, large-2.jpg  
    <source media="(min-width: 18em)" srcset="med-1.jpg 1x, med-2.jpg 2x">
    <source srcset="small-1.jpg 1x, small-2.jpg 2x">
    <img src="small-1.jpg" alt="" lazyload>
    <p>Accessible text</p>


<img mediaset="(min-width: 45em), (min-width: 18em), all"
      srcset1x="large-1.jpg, med-1.jpg, small-1.jpg"
      srcset2x="larse-2.jpg, med-2.jpg, small-2.jpg"
      src="small-1.jpg" alt="Accessible text">

where "1x" and "2x" in the attribute name can be an arbitrary number,  
including non-integers.

Simon Pieters
Opera Software

Received on Thursday, 12 September 2013 13:54:03 UTC