Sports media organizations, leagues, and teams often make simple mistakes in how they use technology to distribute and share information. With all the current rage/focus on social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, people all too often make silly mistakes or misuse traditional technology in ways that make any attempts at using social media meaningless, and make the work of external stakeholders more time consuming and expensive.
Our company, The Cayuga Group, LLC, works with organizations to review their current practices, procedures, and business processes (including the effective and efficient use of business process controls) to streamline their day-today operations. This makes their efforts less of a burden and makes communications with their internal and external stakeholders better, faster, and smarter.
Today, we are introducing a series on "Sports Media Best Practices" to enable sports media (and other) professionals to better understand what it is they are actually doing in relation to the perception of what they think they are doing in their day to day work.
In this first topic in the series, we look at the impact of not resizing images before including them in documents sent out for mass distribution.
Images do not get resized BEFORE they are put into documents
When Fox Sports sends out their press releases, they are always very large in size relative to the content of the documents. In addition to the normal code bloat added by documents created in Microsoft Office, there is another self-inflicted problem that Fox Sports, and other sports media entities can do to reduce file sizes: resize images before inserting them into the documents.
Here are examples of the headers of documents that Fox Sports has been sending out this Fall:
On its face there may not seem to be an issue. Behind the scenes though, what seems to be an innoucous operation on the part of the document creator has an impact on the receiving people/organizations. They take an image in its normal size, pop it into the document or document header and then resize it using the picture properties box in Microsoft Word.
What most people do not realize is that this only reduces the display size of the image, not the actual image size. This often leads to slow responsiveness when working with documents, as well as file sizes larger than needed.
The slow responsiveness of the documents drives users batty, and they often blame the software, not the person(s) who created the document.
The unnecessarily large file sizes has a bigger impact on the recipients, the senders, and the system/network administrators at both ends of the communication chain. Why? Because e-mail users tend to think of their mail files as a file folder on their desktop, so they never remove attachments from emails, or even move them out of their inbox.
For Microsoft Outlook users, this results in exponential growth of their mail database (called .pst files), much slower search response times in the email client, and the huge potential of permanently losing the documents if the mail database corrupts because there is no server backup copy.
For Lotus Notes users, there is much less of a possibility of losing data because of the fundamentally different architecture. However as mile file sizes bloat with saved documents and as people forward around multiple copies of the same email, user performance can become significantly degraded as mail file indexing takes too long when restarting the email client (of course is users kept their in-box clean this would be much less of an impact, but that is a whole other discussion).
The solution is actually very easy, and a little bit of effort on the part of the document creator(s) can go a long way to making life easier all around. Just reduce the size of the image files to the size needed before inserting it into the documents and mailing. How much of a difference can it make? If Fox Sports has just reduced the image size by the amount indicated in the Microsoft Word document image properties box, as shown above, here is what the size difference of the documents (i.e. delta) would be.
Size Sent by Fox Sports
World Series Game 3
-171 KB (84.24%)
NFL Week # 8
-18 KB (30%)
If you would like to talk to us about how we can work with you on these and other business process issues, both technical and non-technical, you can email us at infoATthecayugagroupDOT.com (replacing the AT and DOT of course) or call us at 706-363-0299.