/ #CSS #tip 

Responsive, semantic images with CSS

CSS tip: object-fit your images.

To have an image that doesn’t try to stretch to its width/height the classic CSS is as follows:

.thumbnail {
  width: 50px;
  height: 50px;
  background-size: cover;
  background-position: center;

With this associated HTML (inline styles… 👎):

  style="background-image: url('some-url');"

We can do:

.thumbnail {
  width: 50px;
  height: 50px;
  object-fit: cover;
  object-position: center;

With the following HTML:

<img class="thumbnail" src="some-url">

This was sent out on the Code with Hugo newsletter last Monday. Subscribe to get the latest posts right in your inbox (before anyone else).

Why is this cool?

  1. One word: accessibility.
  2. Two words: semantic markup.
  3. Many words, with the div + background-image solution:
    1. if the URL turned out to be broken, it would show empty space, with the img + object-fit one, it shows the good old “broken image because of URL” fallback (or alt attribute value).
    2. An img tag is more accessible since we can have alt
    3. Typing src="my-url" is just less characters than style="background-image: url('my-url')".

Warning: this might not work on older browsers, it does, however gracefully degrade (the image will just be stretched), it won’t mess up the layout though.

unsplash-logoNate Bell


Hugo Di Francesco

A developer, working out of London writing CSS, JavaScript and Python.

Subscribe for Enterprise Node.js and JavaScript Guides

Build your web platform with modern Node.js/JavaScript best-practices, tools and patterns