When to use <picture> element

The picture element is used to provide multiple versions of an image and determines which version of the image to display based on certain conditions. It is particularly useful for optimizing images for different screen sizes and resolutions, and is commonly used in responsive web design. Here are some specific scenarios where you might want to use the picture element:

  • Retina displays: High-density screens like Apple’s Retina displays have a higher pixel density, which means that images can look blurry or pixelated if they aren’t optimized for high resolution. With the picture element, you can provide a version of the image that has twice as many pixels as the normal version, so it looks crisp and clear on Retina displays.

  • Different aspect ratios: If you’re designing a site that needs to display images with different aspect ratios (like landscape vs. portrait), you can use the picture element to provide different versions of the image that are optimized for each aspect ratio.

  • Bandwidth limitations: Images can be large files that take up a lot of bandwidth, especially on mobile devices. With the picture element, you can provide smaller versions of the image for devices with smaller screens or slower internet connections, which can help reduce page load times.

  • Art-directed layouts: Sometimes you may want to present an image in a certain way depending on the layout of the rest of the page. For example, you might want to show a close-up of a person’s face on mobile devices, but a wider shot on desktop devices. The picture element allows you to provide different versions of the image that are optimized for different layouts.

Overall, the picture element is a powerful tool that can help you optimize your images for a variety of use cases and ensure that they look great no matter what device or screen size they’re being viewed on.