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Why should we care about our web performance?

Have you ever felt so frustrated with a slowly loading website that you wanted to abandon it immediatelly? 

Donot feel alone, every single user hates a slowly loading website, and on the contrary, actually enjoys navigating sites which respond quickly. Then, you canimagine how important it is for customer experience enablers to care about webperformance.

There’sno news in the fact that web performance means users retention, conversion rate improvement and great customer experiences. However, Google has now announced that it will start considering Core Web Vitals as signals of page experienceand use them in their search ranking. As a result, an optimized web perfomanceit is key for an improved SEO strategy.

Core Web Vitals

WebVitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for qualitysignals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.Thanks to it, site owners do not have to be performance gurus in order tounderstand the quality of experience they are delivering to their users.

CoreWeb Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages and eachrepresents a distinct facet of the user experience.

·         Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance and reports therender time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport.

To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5seconds of when the page first starts loading.

·         First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity and reports the time from when a userfirst interacts with a page (i.e. when they click a link, tap on a button,etc.) to the time when the browser is actually able to begin processing eventhandlers in response to that interaction.

To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID ofless than 100 milliseconds.

·         Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. It reportsthe sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layoutshift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page. A layout shift occursany time a visible element changes its position from one rendered frame to thenext.

Toprovide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Video: https://storage.googleapis.com/web-dev-assets/layout-instability-api/layout-instability2.webm

  

Tools to measure Core WebVitals

Ingeneral there are two ways of measuring performance metrics:

·         In the lab: usingtools to simulate devices and page loads. It is useful during development sincedevelopers can measure the performance of a new feature before being releasedto production and prevent performance regressions.

·         In the field: onreal users that actually load the pages in their devices.
Since the performance of a website can vary drastically depending on the user’sdevice, network conditions and personalized content, in the lab measurement maynot reflect how the users are experiencing your site.

In the lab

Toolslike Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights can be used to take metrics in the laband get recommendations and opportunities of improvement. You can also useLighthouse in your Continuous Integration pipeline. It is very useful toprevent performance regressions during development.

In the field

Youcan use Chrome User Experience Report, Web Vitals Extension and PageSpeedInsights to monitor metrics in the field.

 

Recommendations

Itis highly recommended to take metrics for your websites and track them in AdobeAnalytics or your analytics tool of preference. That allows you to track howusers are experiencing your sites, measure how the changes affects theperformance over time and see how the changes that Google introduces impactSEO.

Tosum up, the following could be a good plan to know more about your siteperformance and how to improve it.

1.Run audits with using the tools mentioned before and see how the website isdoing.

2.Leverage those tools to find out improvement opportunities.

3.Keep track of your metrics with your analytics tool and consider addingLighthouse to your CI/CD pipeline.

 

Ihope this article gives you some insights on how to boost your users’experience. 

Thankyou for reading!

Written by

Bruno Bradach

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