WordPress announced that the upcoming March update – WordPress 5.4 – might feature lazy-loading images.
Lazy-loading HTML attribute tells a browser whether to wait before downloading an image or download it right away.
Now, there’s a native web solution that relies entirely on the presence of a new loading attribute on img tags. As a result, users can enjoy a standardized experience without content shifting.
Well, not anymore. Earlier in the week, WordPress announced that WordPress 5.4 would add lazy-loading to all images.
How Lazy-Loading Images Impacts Performance
Three kinds of lazy-loading attributes exist, but only two matters. These are Lazy and Eager.
The Eager attributes tell the browser to download the image immediately. Meanwhile, the Lazy attribute means to wait until the browser’s viewport is within a certain distance before downloading the image.
As you can imagine, this behavior could significantly speed up a user’s experience on WordPress sites.
The announcement reads:
“With WordPress enabling native lazy-loading by default, it would significantly impact performance and user experience for millions of sites, without requiring any technical knowledge or even awareness of lazy-loading as a concept.”
The tech company points out that adopting a new loading attribute creates a chance for WordPress to set a precedent for a faster web.
With that in mind, the WordPress team has officially released a lazy-loading plugin designed for testing purposes only. The team is developing the plugin on Github, and they encourage publishers to test it and provide feedback.
Last year, Google also suggested plans to enable lazy-loading automatically when a browser is in Lite Mode.