Image Best Practices for Load Time in StoryMaps: Embedded or Linked?

711
8
Jump to solution
10-01-2021 11:45 AM
KatieGaut
Occasional Contributor

Hello,

   We're creating a photo and video-rich StoryMap and we're trying to also optimize our load times.  I've searched through the forum and StoryMap Blog, but can't find the answer to this basic question:

Which gives the best performance for load times in the new StoryMap builder (given that BOTH options have images that are properly sized to the location - small side pic vs large main frame in sidecar):

a - Embedded directly in StoryMap

b - Linked to FTP server site

   Thanks in advance! 

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@KatieGaut -- We recommend uploading your images whenever possible for a number of reasons:

  • The story builder does a lot behind the scenes to optimize images for delivery on a variety of devices
  • You don't need to worry about what size your original images are (as long as they are under 10MB)
  • Your images live with the story. That means they won't go missing or need additional management if your FTP server is offline or someday changes it's URL or gets shut down

In terms of performance, if you are compressing your images and making them an appropriate size they should generally perform well if you link them, but you'll be taking on more pre-work and management if you do it that way. Also, the images may be larger than they need to be for readers on mobile devices.

Here's a blog with more info: A guide to working with images in ArcGIS StoryMaps (esri.com)

For videos, we typically recommend uploading shorter videos and using an external hosting service like Vimeo or YouTube for longer ones.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps

View solution in original post

8 Replies
FourCornersMapping
New Contributor III

Hey Katie--I haven't noticed a substantial difference in load times for stories with YouTube vs uploaded videos. There are some quirks with autoplay options for each, and whether in main media or floating panel, which you can experiment with. One big reason for me to use YouTube or similar as opposed to uploading is the 50 MB limit. I've spent untold hours resizing multiple version of videos. The caveat is that the uploaded videos don't have the YouTube controls graphics around the video so they look better in my opinion.

OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@KatieGaut -- We recommend uploading your images whenever possible for a number of reasons:

  • The story builder does a lot behind the scenes to optimize images for delivery on a variety of devices
  • You don't need to worry about what size your original images are (as long as they are under 10MB)
  • Your images live with the story. That means they won't go missing or need additional management if your FTP server is offline or someday changes it's URL or gets shut down

In terms of performance, if you are compressing your images and making them an appropriate size they should generally perform well if you link them, but you'll be taking on more pre-work and management if you do it that way. Also, the images may be larger than they need to be for readers on mobile devices.

Here's a blog with more info: A guide to working with images in ArcGIS StoryMaps (esri.com)

For videos, we typically recommend uploading shorter videos and using an external hosting service like Vimeo or YouTube for longer ones.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
KatieGaut
Occasional Contributor

Owen,

   Thank you so much!  So it sounds like, with photo sizes being equal, there isn’t a significant speed difference for hosted vs linked photos (if I’m understanding you correctly) on desktop?  But there would be a speed increase with mobile for hosted photos as the SM will resize internally, correct?

    This project is very photo and video rich story map based in the Okavango Delta and we are trying to be cognizant of the cost of storage in the clients’ account.  Additionally, the audience may be primarily in Africa with slower internet speeds so we want to optimize things on our end, to the extent possible we can.   Even with resized photos and videos, I believe we are around 150-200 MB, which is ~$50/year to host.  Again, thanks for the info that we will weigh the pros/cons of cost - and hopefully I have indeed understood your reply correctly! 

Thanks,

Katie

Blue Water GIS

0 Kudos
OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@KatieGaut -- Mobile devices typically see the best optimization, but readers have many different desktop sizes as well, so there is still a benefit for readers not on mobile devices.

Another minor point is that you'll notice for uploaded images the story will pre-load a very small, blurry version of the image to improve the reader experience. You won't get that with linked images.

Please note that the cost for hosting uploaded media files in a story falls under the "Storage of all content, excluding hosted feature layers and content in ArcGIS Notebooks," which is 1.2 credits per 1 GB stored per month, calculated hourly (reference).

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
0 Kudos
FourCornersMapping
New Contributor III

Oh, I completely misread the original post--it was about images, not videos. Thanks, @OwenGeo !

0 Kudos
OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@FourCornersMapping -- Ha, no worries -- and @KatieGaut did mention videos in the first sentence, so it's all good!

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
KatieGaut
Occasional Contributor

@OwenGeo this is excellent information!  Is there any way to request that this conversation, and its level of detail, get turned into a blog post, tutorial, FAQ, or something similar for a quick reference?  I know that for us, understanding these details in advance would have saved us tons of time, and I'm sure other StoryMap builders would appreciate it as well.  Thanks again!

 

0 Kudos
KatieGaut
Occasional Contributor

@OwenGeo Sorry I missed the link above to the blog post that already exists!