Core Web Vitals: How To Fix Poor User Experiences on Your Site
One of the major purposes of every website is to offer an exclusive experience to the users, whatsoever the condition. Whether it is through the color combination or the site’s loading speed, several factors determine the user experience and its impact on your website. You need to deliver a consistent performance before the website can perform expectedly.
Therefore, to help online site owners, Google has prepared a comprehensive report concerning several attributes. These attributes or vitals are crucial to maintaining the user experience, analyzing the website’s performance, and focusing on strategy formulation to enhance the overall functionalities of the website. Although several different attributes are grouped into different categories, the core web vitals are the most crucial.
If these are optimized right on time and the gaps are analyzed properly, it can positively impact the website’s performance, revenue, and online traffic. Keeping these in mind, we have discussed core web vitals, their importance, and some ways to fix them at once and increase performance.
Before we move on to anything else, it’s ideal to understand core web vitals. This will help determine if everything is optimized or requires a thorough analysis. So, coming back to the topic, core web vitals are a set of attributes that define the core performance and activity of the concerned website.
User interaction and page speed metrics form the core web vitals. There are three different measuring units to consider, which are:
1. The largest contentful paint indicates the loading speed
2. Cumulative layout shift determines visual stability
3. First input delay is related to user interaction
Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
It is crucial for everyone to understand the importance of core web vitals, whether it is the largest colorful paint or the first input delay. Following are the advantages you can enjoy after analyzing the website based on these web vitals.
1. Core web vitals give the measurement of the site’s responsiveness. Usually, when images and other multimedia content types are loaded on the webpage, proper width and height measurements must be defined in the CSS and HTML script. Google’s search engine checks these attributes and adjusts them automatically based on the device where the site is opened. A default measurement will be assigned if the values are not mentioned in CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift. As a result, the images and other content elements will shift in size and position, disrupting the webpage’s UI.
2. Any proficient user experience agency assesses UX based on the time delay between the user action and the response from the website. For instance, there will always be a delay between the time you press a button or click on any link and the response displayed on the screen. The core vitals will help assess this delay and understand whether the website is responding appropriately to the user. Creating an ideal impression on your target audience will be easier if the delay is more.
3. The user interface has different components, from draggable sliders to images, text blocks, links, etc. When the user first enters the URL, the browser takes different times to load various components on the webpage. This is why you won’t be able to see everything at a time. That’s where the core web vitals come into play. The measurement metric of LCP or the largest contentful paint determines the loading time of the largest component on the webpage. The less loading time, the faster and better the site’s performance will be.
4. In addition, the core web vitals help analyze the website’s performance in terms of loading speed, user interaction, and the overlays of the UI components. Based on the analytical reports, professionals can easily find the content gap and help improve the website’s performance to provide an excellent experience to all users.
Measuring User Experience With Core Web Vitals
The core web vitals allow the measurement of user experience, which is quite important for the progress of any website. In textbook terms, user experience is defined as the journey users go through on your website and the experience level. For instance, if the time gap between the user activity and the response shown on the screen increases, the user experience will be poor because they need to wait for minutes before they can scroll to another page or view the dropdown options.
Similarly, if the largest component takes longer to load than expected, your users will only be able to see some of the websites. They can even miss some of the most important aspects of the site, which is why their experience won’t be better. These are some of how any user experience agency determines the user experience for the concerned website.
How to Measure Core Web Vitals?
There are several ways to measure the core web vitals. Ideally, different kinds of tools are used for the purpose, including but not limited to Search Console from Google, Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights, and many more.
However, before using any of these tools, certain prerequisites must be met. Following are some primary factors you need to consider before using the core web vitals tools.
1. First, you need to gather different kinds of user-centric data, whether the bounce rate, the average time spent on the webpage, the time is taken to load the webpage on different browsers, etc.
2. Once the datasets are collected, you need to filter them out and use them for further analysis.
3. The analytical report will help you to understand which area of your website or the concerned web pages are affected. For instance, if the bounce rate is higher than expected, there should be some problem in the loading speed of the largest content or the user interaction with the website. Similarly, if desktop users are higher in number than mobile users, the website could perform better on mobile browsers.
4. Based on this analytical report, you need to decide which core web vital to be measured on top priority. For instance, if the problem is related to the user interaction with the website, you should use First Input Delay or FID. Similarly, if the loading speed of the webpages could be optimized, you have to consider Largest Colorful Paint or LCP.
5. You must also pick the ideal tool to analyze the core web vitals and measure the user experience. Following are the options you will have in hand.
a. Search Console: With the help of this Google-powered tool, you can identify the clusters of web pages that require immediate analysis based on the core web vitals according to the Chrome UX report. However, if the collected data from any URL is insignificant, the webpage will automatically be omitted from the Search Console report.
b. PageSpeed Insights: This is one of the basic tools that can be used to measure the core web vitals. The best part is that all the metrics will be displayed in the field and lab sections.
c. Lighthouse: The most popular tool to measure the core web vitals is Lighthouse. It is an automated tool that identifies the URL performance gaps and lists the problems. It also comes with a performance scorer that will show the areas concerned in the measurement.
d. Chrome UX Report: One of the finest tools to calculate the core web vitals is the Chrome UX Report. The best part of the tool is that all the datasets collected are from the real-time world instead of any dummy data.
Once the tool is chosen, you must run the analysis on the concerned webpage and identify the areas where the problem lies. Since you will learn about various metrics determining the overall website’s performance, you will be able to understand how the webpage or the site as a whole is performing.
Importance of Core Web Vitals Ranking Signal For Ranking
User experience is one of the major aspects that should be considered for the ranking. Google has already declared that UX needs to be optimized from time to time so that the websites can be ranked higher based on the ranking algorithms. For instance, UX determines the page speed, bounce rate, number of visitors, lead generation, conversion ratio, and many more such attributes.
So, it is crucial to understand how core web vitals can help understand the website’s ranking.
LCP Ranking Values
With the help of the largest contentful paint or LCP, you can determine whether the loading speed is optimized.
1. Any website with an LCP of less than 2.5 seconds is supposedly the best performance.
2. LCP with a value between 2.5 seconds and 4 seconds means the website requires improvements.
3. On the other hand, any website recording a value of more than 4 seconds of LCP indicates poor user experience.
FID Ranking Values
FID, or First Input Delay, refers to the time the browser reads the action performed at the front end and then provides the response on the screen. As per the Google metrics, the following are the ranking values in terms of FID.
1. If the response time for the webpage is less than equal to 100 ms, the website is performing as expected, and the rank will be higher.
2. A website taking a time between 100 ms and 300 ms to show the response will need improvement.
3. Any website showing any response after 300 ms has the poorest user experience.
CLS Ranking Values
Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS determines if the UI components, especially the images and other multimedia-type content, have shifted from the original layout described in the CSS and HTML script. Following are the concerned values of CLS that needs to be considered for determination.
1. A high-performing website allows a nominal shift in the images by 0.1 units.
2. Any website causing a shift in the pictures between 0.1 units and 0.25 units needs immediate improvement.
3. If the shift in the content is more than 0.25 units, the website could have a better user experience.
What is First Input Delay, and How to Fix it?
First Input Delay or FID is one of the major core web vitals that should be considered to measure the user experience. It determines the time gap between the action taken by the user on the webpage and the response received after the browser evaluates the script and receives a signal from the backend code. ‘
If the time gap is between 100 ms and 300 ms or more than 300 ms, you need to improve your website so that the FID value can be lowered to a minimum of 100 ms. If the analytical reports do not favor your website, you need to fix the issues at the earliest.
Some of How FID can be Improved with ease are:
2. Also, larger scripts being executed on the server side will block user interaction with the website. As a result, you need to optimize the script to ensure the JS script can be made smaller. This way, the interaction time will reduce significantly.
3. Sometimes, the website can take longer to respond due to cascading data fetches. So, you must segregate the datasets and optimize the fetching modules to ensure only the required data is fetched. You can easily create multiple schemas or use APIs to ease the interaction between the website and the user.
4. If your website has multiple third-party plugins, you need to set priorities so that the main thread can be executed first for an early response to the user query or action from the frontend.
Cumulative Layout Shift — How to Fix It?
CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift indicates the sudden changes in the picture dimensions when the webpages are loaded on different browsers and devices. If the shift is more than 0.25 units, you should plan on fixing the issues.
Following are the ways to do so:
1. You need to define the exact dimension of the images while writing the CSS script. This way, you won’t have to worry about the width and height suddenly changing only because the browser or device is changed.
2. If any advertisement or embedded image is included in the website, you need to define the sizes in the CSS script. As a result, the layout shift will be much less than 0.1 units.
What Is Largest Contentful Paint: An Easy Explanation
The third and most important core web vital is LCP, the largest contentful paint. When multiple components with different sizes and dimensions are included, they take different times to load once the webpage URL is entered in the browser’s search bar.
The time taken for the largest component on the concerned webpage to load is known as the largest contentful paint. If the loading time is less than 2.5 seconds, the website’s performance is perfectly optimized, and you won’t have to work on the core vital. However, if the LCP is between 2.5 seconds and 4 seconds or more than this, you need to optimize the LCP and ensure the time taken for the largest content to load on the webpage is lowered.
How To Optimize Media and Reduce Largest Contentful Paint?
Some of the best ways to optimize your media and reduce the LCP value to 2.5 seconds or below are:
1. You need to optimize the largest component loading time to start loading on the webpage right when the first resource loads.
2. The LCP element should render after the resource is loaded on the website. If the rendering time is reduced, it will become easier for the website to load the largest content earlier without any problem.
3. Use the content delivery network or CDN to load the LCP element. This will help reduce the total distance the element needs to travel from the server to the device where the website is loaded.
Lighthouse Performance Metrics
Since there are two versions, the Lighthouse performance metrics need to be considered based on your version. These are usually measured based on a weighted average of different metric scores.
Lighthouse Version 6
- First Contentful Paint: 15%
- Largest Contentful Paint: 25%
- Speed Index: 15%
- Time To Interactive: 15%
- Total Blocking Time: 25%
- Cumulative Layout Shift: 5%
Lighthouse Version 8
- First Contentful Paint: 10%
- Largest Contentful Paint: 25%
- Speed Index: 10%
- Time To Interactive: 10%
- Total Blocking Time: 30%
- Cumulative Layout Shift: 15%
This article describes how important core web vitals are for assessing the website’s performance and user experience. In addition, we have also described the best ways in which you can optimize the three major vitals, namely Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Display (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This way, you can optimize the website and make the necessary changes to increase overall efficiency and performance.