Lately I've noticed that a lot of clients refer to the GTMetrix rating system when discussing deliverables for their website. In their eyes, GTMetrix is great because it allows them to validate the work that they have paid for without any technical knowledge. As long as they see an "A" they are happy. But the website has to get an "A".
Some web designers have begun to play up the GTMetrix ratings and even include it in their pitch, claiming to only churn out websites that 'rank "A's" across the board.' This further perpetuates the attitude that an "A" ranking is the only acceptable rating for a website.
Now here's my problem: I have a website that ranks 85%. It ranks "A's" in every area except for when it comes to serving scaled images, and it loads in 1.5 seconds. My images are 45% larger than they are being displayed, and I like it this way because it looks better. Resizing to the exact display width causes them to look blurry, and I've tried resampling with all the methods available. The only way for me to achieve an "A" rating with this website is to make the image quality noticeable worse, which I think hurts the user experience.
To make matters worse, my photos were originally 65% larger than displayed, and my website ranked 85%. I reduced them by 20% and the rating didn't change at all (I double checked that this wasn't a caching issue). This makes me feel like the GTMetrix rating system is at least somewhat bogus to begin with.
Am I missing something here? Is there a way to resize photos without losing image quality? Are some people placing too much emphasis on the GTMetrix rating system? Should we even be assigning letter grades to our websites like this (I think clients will always demand an "A" if we do)? Is it sometimes preferable to score a "B" if it provides a better user experience?