In today’s fast-paced digital world, website performance is crucial for delivering a great user experience.
Google will be introducing a new metric, interaction to next paint (INP) in March 2024 to help measure how quickly your website reacts to a user’s interaction. It will take into consideration elements like clicks or key presses.
INP will soon become one of the Core Web Vitals introduced by Google to better measure the effectiveness of site speed and performance on the web.
In this article, we will delve into the concept of INP and explore ways to improve it for your website’s technical SEO.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Interaction To Next Paint (INP)?
- How Is INP Measured?
- Introducing INP To Core Web Vitals
- Why Is INP A Field Metric?
- What Is The Difference Between FID & INP?
- How To Get A Good INP Score
- How Can I Improve My Interaction To Next Paint?
What Is Interaction to Next Paint (INP)?
Interaction to Next Paint (INP) is a metric soon to be introduced by Google as part of the Core Web Vitals. It measures the time it takes for a webpage to respond to user interaction after the first visual content has been rendered.
This could include clicks, taps, or any other user action that triggers a response from the website.
However, hovering and scrolling are not taken into account.
INP is important because it directly impacts the user experience. A quick and responsive website can lead to increased engagement and satisfaction, while a slow and unresponsive one can frustrate users and drive them away.
When it comes to website performance, page speed is a crucial factor.
Users expect websites to load quickly and respond promptly to their actions. This is where INP comes into play.
By measuring the time it takes for a webpage to respond to user interaction, INP provides valuable insights into the responsiveness of a website.
INP is particularly relevant in today’s digital landscape, where user expectations are constantly evolving. With the increasing popularity of mobile devices, users are accessing websites from a variety of platforms and network conditions.
It is crucial for websites to adapt and deliver a consistent and responsive experience across different devices and network speeds.
By considering INP as part of the Core Web Vitals, Google aims to encourage website owners and developers to prioritise user experience and optimise their websites accordingly.
How Is INP Measured?
INP specifically measures how much time there is between a user input and the next UI update. The delay during this period consists of three components:
- Input Delay – any background tasks that are preventing the event handler from running
- Presentation Delay – how it handles any other interactions that are queued, reorganising page layout, and painting page content
INP is measured through the entire timeframe of the mouse, touch, or keyboard input through to the next frame being rendered by the browser.
Introducing INP To Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google uses to evaluate and measure the overall user experience of a webpage. These metrics are crucial in determining how well a website performs and how user-friendly it is.
Back in 2021, we released a video talking about whether or not sites would be in jeopardy due to the Core Web Vitals update.
One of the key metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals is soon to be INP, which stands for Input Latency.
INP measures the responsiveness of a webpage by tracking the time it takes for the browser to respond to user interactions, such as clicking a button or scrolling. It focuses on the delay between the user’s action and the browser’s response, providing insights into the interactivity of the website.
By integrating INP into the Core Web Vitals, Google aims to prioritise websites that provide a smooth and interactive experience for users. This means that improving your INP score can have a significant impact on your website’s search engine rankings and overall visibility.
Another factor that can impact the INP score is the network latency. The time it takes for the user’s request to reach the server and for the server to respond can affect the overall responsiveness of the webpage.
Optimising the server’s response time and reducing network latency can help improve the INP score.
Furthermore, the complexity of the webpage’s layout and design can also influence the INP score.
Websites with intricate designs and heavy animations may require more processing power, leading to longer response times. Simplifying the design and optimising the rendering process can help reduce the INP score.
It is important for website owners and developers to prioritise optimising the INP score to enhance the overall user experience.
By reducing input latency and ensuring a seamless interaction between the user and the website, businesses can improve customer satisfaction and increase engagement.
Why Is INP A Field Metric?
The measurement of the INP metric relies on user input, and as such, it is typically obtained from field data collected from actual users.
Google gathers real user data on INP as part of the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX).
In a controlled laboratory setting, you can script a user interaction to gather INP data.
It’s important to note that the performance of each page interaction may vary depending on which UI element the user interacts with and the timing of that interaction.
What Is the Difference Between INP and First Input Delay (FID)?
While INP and First Input Delay (FID) both measure aspects of user interaction, they focus on slightly different aspects.
FID measures the time it takes for a webpage to respond to the first user interaction, such as clicking a button or selecting a dropdown menu.
This metric is important because it directly affects the perceived responsiveness of a website. When users interact with a webpage, they expect an immediate response, and a high FID can lead to frustration and a negative user experience.
On the other hand, INP measures the time it takes for subsequent interactions to be processed after the initial content has been rendered. This metric is also crucial for evaluating a website’s performance.
After the initial interaction, users may continue to interact with various elements on the page, such as filling out forms, submitting data, or navigating through menus.
The time it takes for these interactions to be processed can impact the overall user experience and determine whether users stay engaged or abandon the website.
Although they have different focuses, both metrics are crucial for evaluating a website’s responsiveness and overall user experience.
There are known limitations with FID, which is why INP will be replacing FID when it is deployed in March 2024.
How To Get A Good INP Score
Improving your INP score requires optimising various aspects of your website’s performance. Here are some strategies you can employ:
- Optimise server response times: Reduce the time it takes for your server to respond to user requests by optimising server settings and improving backend performance.
- Optimise for browser caching: Leverage browser caching by setting appropriate cache headers and reducing unnecessary requests for static resources.
- Use lazy loading and prioritised loading: Load critical content first and defer loading non-critical content until after the initial webpage is rendered. Lazy loading can help reduce the time it takes for the user to interact with your website.
How Can I Improve My Interaction To Next Paint?
Improving your Interaction to Next Paint (INP) requires a holistic approach towards optimising your website’s performance. Here are some additional tips:
Optimise event callbacks by yielding to the main thread often – consider doing as little work as possible within them. although this may not be suitable for every site. If this isn’t suitable, break up the work in event callbacks into separate tasks.
Optimise event callbacks by allow rendering work to occur sooner – structure the code in your event callbacks to limit what gets run. This should be just the logic required to apply visual updates for the next frame.
Some other top tips include:
- Minimise DOM size
- Use the CSS content-visibility property to lazily render off-screen elements
- Be aware of performance costs when rendering HTML using JS
For more optimisation techniques, view this article on how to optimize Interaction to Next Paint from Google.
By implementing these strategies and staying proactive in optimising your website’s performance, you can greatly improve your Interaction to Next Paint (INP) score and provide a better user experience for your visitors.
In conclusion, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) is soon to be a key metric that measures how quickly a webpage responds to user interactions after the initial content has been rendered.
By understanding INP and implementing optimisation techniques, you can enhance your website’s performance, increase user engagement and experience. This will ultimately help with your overall SEO strategy.