One Kings Lane streams high-quality images without losing speed
March 26, 2014 11:51 AM
Home furnishings and décor flash-sales retailer One Kings Lane has sped up its web page load times by 20% and boosted mobile page load times by 35% since it began using a new web site performance optimization technology last fall, without having to cut any large, glossy images or reduce their rendering quality, says chief technology officer Arun Rajan. “We don't have to sacrifice image quality for speed, or vice versa,” he says.
The retailer has been using a new type of web site performance optimization technology from Instart Logic Inc. that fragments image files and streams them to web pages. The technology streams the most important fragments first and adds the rest over time—a process akin to painting images on a page over several passes, according to Instart Logic. That allows all the images to appear right away, in the eyes of a visitor, though their full levels of detail might not be loaded entirely for a few seconds.
“We feature high-definition images for all products, including full-screen view and close-up zoom, so that our shoppers can see a granular level of detail in the fabric or finish of a piece,” Rajan says. “These heavy images aren’t traditionally conducive to the fast display times our customers expect, especially over slower wireless connections for our mobile shoppers.”
Other web performance optimization services often work via a content delivery network, or a series of servers in various geographies that hold saved web files in order to serve pages more quickly to nearby consumers. To further speed up page load times, those services also often request a retailer to reduce the amount of data that must load on a web page—for instance, by using smaller or fewer images and social media buttons. One Kings Lane previously used such a service, Rajan says. “It worked, but there were a lot of opportunities for improvement—and that’s where Instart Logic came in.”
Because Instart Logic uses a different technique, One Kings Lane doesn’t have to change what’s on its web pages at all. The retailer needs only to route its web domain through the vendor’s cloud-based—or Internet-hosted—service, where Instart Logic fragments the page elements and streams them to consumers’ devices.
“Instart Logic’s web application delivery technology is intelligent in the sense that it prioritizes a web page to allow for key components to display first and become instantly clickable, while the network continues to stream data in the background in order of prioritization,” Rajan says. “This allows us to do a lot more than a [content delivery network] would—load times are decreased, higher quality images can be used and we can offer more personalized, dynamic content to our end users.”
One Kings Lane began routing some of its web traffic through Instart Logic’s cloud service last fall, he says. The results were so impressive that it decided to start running all its traffic, 35% of which is mobile, through the service immediately, even though it was by then the busy holiday season.
“It’s really the next generation of what web application delivery could be and goes beyond traditional content delivery network systems,” he says.
Instart Logic charges a monthly fee based on the amount of data that passes through its cloud system. Rajan declines to reveal what the retailer pays, but says the vendor “has delivered a tremendous amount of value to our business and has been a cost-effective solution for boosting performance and load times of One Kings Lane’s rich imagery across devices.”
One Kings Lane is No. 120 in the Internet Retailer Top 500.