Success in the web is all about User Experience. We want our users to experience joy, and also to not experience frustration, when they access and engage with the products we make. Recognizing the importance of UX on the success of web content creators and publishers, Google recently launched an initiative called Web Vitals. The goal of the Web Vitals initiative is to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.
Web Vitals Initiative #
In a nutshell, when we talk about Web Vitals, we refer to three main aspects:
A set of user-centric metrics we can track during the execution of our web pages, and reason about them.
Tools that allow us to measure and report on the performance of our pages in terms of the web vital metrics.
Incentives so that we have clear and compelling reasons to strive for healthy CWVs for our sites.
There are many Web Vitals and web performance metrics in general. We are interested in a subset of metrics that we call Core Web Vitals. Each Core Web Vital represents a distinct facet of the performance of our site directly related to the experience of our users. Specifically:
Largest Contentful Paint #
Measures load time: how fast our pages are loading on the devices of our users. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds from when the page first starts loading.
First Input Delay #
Measures load responsiveness. It quantifies the experience our users feel when trying to interact with our content. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
Cumulative Layout Shift #
Measures visual stability of our content. It is computed by detecting when an element that is visible in the viewport changes its start position between two rendering frames. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
How our sites perform in terms of the Core Web Vitals correlates with the experience we bring to our users. Therefore, it is important that we are able to measure them. That’s why all developer tools by Google support CWVs. Including PageSpeed Insights, the Chrome UX Report, Search Console, Chrome Dev Tools, Lighthouse, and there is even a Web Vitals Chrome extension.
The main incentive is that we don’t want our users to be sad. We want to bring them great experiences, and we know that if we do that, they will reward us with their engagement, their time, and their loyalty to the content we bring to them. Another incentive has to do with having a greater chance of our users finding our content easily when they search for it. CWVs are the foundation for how Google measures a new ranking signal: Page Experience. The rationale behind this signal is that, all other things being equal, great page experiences should stand out when users are looking for content, simply because they will enjoy them more.
The Page experience signal is a combination of page-level metrics, including the Core Web Vitals and other aspects such as: mobile friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, Lack of intrusive interstitials, and other factors. All these elements are combined and used as a ranking factor: the better a page experience is, the greater the chance of ranking higher on Google search results, and also the greater the chance it will be able to take advantage of other possibilities where page experience plays a role.
AMP and Core Web Vitals #
This is great, with the CWVs and PE, we know exactly what we want to strive for. We know that if we ensure our sites meet the thresholds defined for the CWVs, then we are on the right track to make our users happy, and to be successful as web content creators.
The next question is how in the world do we achieve that? Here is where having the right tools at our disposal is important! AMP is a powerful and cost effective tool specifically designed to make it easier to build sites that provide the pillars of great user experiences, regardless of our technical expertise, or the amount of resources we have.