Design and Development Essays and Prose

As an art student, maintaining quality when displaying images on the web is extremely important to me. For graphic designers, vector artwork is praiseworthy because the quality of the final artifact is not compromised when it’s scaled to a large print or display size. Raster artwork such as a photograph or painting is something that requires a minimum content size in order to retain that perfect and profound impact that the artists intended.

In the Western world, we are spoiled. I’m not talking about clean water or self-driving cars — I’m talking about constant and instantaneous connectivity to the Web. We’re not used to waiting for images to load or seeing images that are less the stunningly clear. Yet, in developing worlds, bandwidth is a rare commodity that has to be used intelligently and responsibly.

A professor once told me that the solution always lies in the correct statement of the problem. The problem, in my opinion, is that slow bandwidth prevents high-resolution artwork from being accessible to everyone. That’s a shame. There are many solutions to this — ultra-elegant compression methods and extremely lightweight webpage layouts, just to name a few. These solutions work well in most cases, especially when bandwidth is charged by the megabyte.

Yet, compression models and sampling can only go so far until the quality of the image is lost. A better option that doesn’t compromise on resolution is to preload images ahead of when they are going to be used. Enter Quantum.

Quantum is a predictive preloading platform for artists. Quantum is a predictive service that uses machine learning to intelligently decide which webpage a user is going to view next based off of the browsing patterns of the herd. If 80% of the users who view Page A go to Page C, then there is a relatively significant chance that you will too. Quantum uses this concept to preload images, stylesheets, and JavaScript in the background so that when you go to Page C, the high-resolution and bandwidth intensive content is already available for you.

For mobile users in the Western world, this is extremely useful. We are used to images loading instantly and we will often navigate away from what could be an incredible work of art because we are unwilling to wait 2–3 seconds for it to load. As display quality on mobile devices increases, it is only natural that the quality of the images that we view on the web increases as well. Therefore, a non-intrusive solution needs to be set in place in order to keep up with the size of the images that we consume as a culture.

Quantum works in the background and is never noticed by the end user. Quantum’s goal is to bring viewer and artist together without the interruption and constraints that bandwidth entails. Photographers, graphic designers, and many other artists would benefit from a service like Quantum because it allows them to show the full beauty of their work without sacrificing resolution or quality.