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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 immediately? 

Do not feel alone, every single user hates a slowly loading website, and on the contrary, actually enjoys navigating sites which respond quickly. Then, you can imagine how important it is for customer experience enablers to care about web performance.

There’s no 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 experience and use them in their search ranking. As a result, an optimized web performance it is key for an improved SEO strategy.

Core Web Vitals

WebVitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals 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 to understand 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 each represents a distinct facet of the user experience.

·         Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance and reports the render 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 user first 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 event handlers in response to that interaction.

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

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

To provide 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

In general there are two ways of measuring performance metrics:

·         In the lab: using tools to simulate devices and page loads. It is useful during development since developers can measure the performance of a new feature before being released to production and prevent performance regressions.

·         In the field: on real users that actually load the pages in their devices.
Since the performance of a website can vary drastically depending on the user’s device, network conditions and personalized content, in the lab measurement may not reflect how the users are experiencing your site.

In the lab

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

In the field

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

 

Recommendations

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

To sum up, the following could be a good plan to know more about your site performance and how to improve it.

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

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.

 

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

Thank you for reading!

Written by

Bruno Bradach

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