Google Unveils Web Vitals, its Metric Tool for Web Developers

Google introduced Web Vitals, an initiative providing performance and user-experience metrics aimed at web developers and website owners. Google has described it as “essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.” Web Vitals is just one of the tools that Google has offered over the years to help developers, advertisers and business owners improve the user experience of their websites. All those tools, however, have become an information overload that confuses its target demographic.

VentureBeat reports that Web Vitals is Google’s “attempt at a reset” for that situation. It also notes that, “given Google’s reach, including over 1 billion Chrome users and over 2.5 billion monthly active Android devices, not to mention Google Search, anyone with a website needs to track what Google prioritizes.”

In addition to Web Vitals, Google is introducing “an open source web vitals JavaScript library and a developer preview of a Core Web Vitals extension.” With regard to Core Web Vitals, “other browsers have shipped [its] draft specifications.” This year, Core Web Vitals “include loading experience, interactivity, and visual stability of page content.”

Google stated that these user-centric outcomes are “field measurable, and have lab diagnostic metric equivalents,” with such features as Largest Contentful Paint that measures “perceived load speed and marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded” as well as First Input Delay, which “measures responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when trying to first interact with the page,” and Cumulative Layout Shift, which “measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content.”

The company plans to “make Core Web Vitals easy to access and measure across its own tools” including an update for Lighthouse, Chrome DevTools, PageSpeed Insights and Search Console’s Speed Report. It also plans to release a new REST [representational state transfer] API, and to update Core Web Vitals every year. Site owners can already rely on Chrome UX Report to “see how real-world Chrome users experience their site … [and] the BigQuery dataset already surfaces publicly accessible histograms for all of the Core Web Vitals.”

Google pledged “regular updates on the future candidates, motivation, and implementation status,” and, for 2021, promised “building better understanding and ability to measure page speed, and other critical user experience characteristics.”