If you’ve been conducting business online long enough, then are probably familiar with Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool gives you incredible insights into your website’s loading speed and gives you tips on the steps you can take to improve it, giving your website users a better experience. It gives your website a score based on certain metrics, with higher scores an indicator that your website is better designed for your users.
Recently, Google updated the tool to offer web developers and website owners a deeper understanding of how fast their websites are loading and practical suggestions to improve their page loading scores. The updated tool now has Google Lighthouse integration and users have access to more data than before. Here are some notable changes to the tool’s functionality and what they mean for your website loading speed.
The integration of Lighthouse 6.0 with its new website performance metrics into Google PageSpeed Insights has seen website performance scores for some websites plummet. Google says 50% of websites will either see unchanged scores or noticeably higher ones, while the other 50% will see a score drop of at least five points. If your website is in the latter group, you need to find out what has changed in the scoring system and how to use the new insights to improve the performance of your website.
Google keeps testing and fine-tuning Lighthouse and how it measures a website’s user experience. Lighthouse 6.0 is the result of this continuous process. It comes with a noteworthy list of changes. Here are a number of them:
First Meaningful Paint (FMP) has always been difficult to quantify, making it hard to figure out exactly how you should recalibrate your web pages to improve its score on Lighthouse. For this reason, its contribution to the overall score was 7%. After this latest update, the metric has been deprecated. Users have now been left with FCP which will work in tandem with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) to give them insights into the render time of a website’s largest element to the point that it becomes visible to the user.
First Contentful Paint (FCP) is a measure of the length of time that it takes before a browser renders a page’s first piece of content that a user can see, e.g. text or images. In Lighthouse 5.0, FCP’s contribution to the overall score was 23%. Now, it has shed some weight: a whopping 8%. This is good news to web developers who complained that the metric is not all that helpful.
First CPU Idle (FCI) is similar in many respects to Time To Interactive (TTI). In fact, FCI was initially called Time To First Interactive. It is a measurement of the moment a web page becomes minimally interactive when a user can interact with the majority of the elements on that page even if some elements may still not be ready for interaction.
In the latest update, FCI has been dropped and in its place, Google has introduced Total Blocking Time. This new metric is a measure of the sum total of the time between TTI and FCP where a user perceives a page as unresponsive or sluggish because there’s a Long Task in progress. A task is said to be long if it takes more than 50 ms to complete. Essentially, TBT quantifies the main thread’s activity responsible for blocking users’ ability to interact with web pages.
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