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Load visible images

importance: 4

Let’s say we have a slow-speed client and want to save their mobile traffic.

For that purpose we decide not to show images immediately, but rather replace them with placeholders, like this:

<img src="placeholder.svg" width="128" height="128" data-src="real.jpg">

So, initially all images are placeholder.svg. When the page scrolls to the position where the user can see the image – we change src to the one in data-src, and so the image loads.

Here’s an example in iframe:

Scroll it to see images load “on-demand”.


  • When the page loads, those images that are on-screen should load immediately, prior to any scrolling.
  • Some images may be regular, without data-src. The code should not touch them.
  • Once an image is loaded, it should not reload any more when scrolled in/out.

P.S. If you can, make a more advanced solution that would “preload” images that are one page below/after the current position.

P.P.S. Only vertical scroll is to be handled, no horizontal scrolling.

Open a sandbox for the task.

The onscroll handler should check which images are visible and show them.

We also want to run it when the page loads, to detect immediately visible images and load them.

The code should execute when the document is loaded, so that it has access to its content.

Or put it at the <body> bottom:

// ...the page content is above...

function isVisible(elem) {

  let coords = elem.getBoundingClientRect();

  let windowHeight = document.documentElement.clientHeight;

  // top elem edge is visible?
  let topVisible = > 0 && < windowHeight;

  // bottom elem edge is visible?
  let bottomVisible = coords.bottom < windowHeight && coords.bottom > 0;

  return topVisible || bottomVisible;

The showVisible() function uses the visibility check, implemented by isVisible(), to load visible images:

function showVisible() {
  for (let img of document.querySelectorAll('img')) {
    let realSrc = img.dataset.src;
    if (!realSrc) continue;

    if (isVisible(img)) {
      img.src = realSrc;
      img.dataset.src = '';

window.onscroll = showVisible;

P.S. The solution also has a variant of isVisible that “preloads” images that are within 1 page above/below the current document scroll.

Open the solution in a sandbox.