User Experience is prioritized in Lighthouse v6

User Experience being watched by Google Lighthouse

Lighthouse is an open source tool developed by Google. Lighthouse measures 4 pillars of the user experience. Do you know what else has 4 pillars? The conjoined triangle of success, but I digress ;).

The 4 Pillars of Lighthouse reports:

  • Performance
  • Accessibility
  • Best Practices
  • Search Engine Optimization

It is easy to use providing a scorecard along with detailed technical suggestions to improve a page user’s experience.

The current version of Lighthouse (v6) uses Core Web Vitals and is in very good company. Google is powering some of its most popular tools with Web Vitals. All of these tools help a developer improve the user experience of a page or progressive web app.

Google continues to shift to ranking sites higher when the data reflects a great user experience. Lighthouse helps to further pull back the curtain demystifying Google’s priorities when delivering user’s search results (SERP).

Lighthouse  Chrome DevTools Search Console’s measure tool  PageSpeed Insights Web Vitals Chrome extension  Chrome UX Report  Tools now focused on User Experience

How is Lighthouse different?

Tools like YSlow have existed for years. While initially designed around Yahoo’s (outdated) guidelines, YSlow was a great tool. These classic tools do not consider usability, feel, or accessibility. As an example Lighthouse identifies elements that can be difficult for the visually impaired. Classic tools also lack support for newer web standards and technologies. So in turn remediation recommendations may not help a developer choose the right path to optimization. While objective of these tools is the same, to help owners and developers get real data to improve the quality of web pages for its target users and to improve its marketability to search engines.

Lighthouse is part of the next generation of user experience tools.

Eric Perkins

It evaluates user experience unlike classic tools that measure raw load times. It is not just if your site is fast or slow. Rather more importantly, does your page ‘feel’ fast or slow? How quickly is the page ready for input as it loads? After the page starts loading how long do users wait before meaningful content is displayed? Lighthouse parses a target page over average connection speeds on emulated mid-market device so it can simulate what a typical user might experience.

A good mobile user experience is critical

Sites today take a mobile first strategy, because mobile browsers are the lowest common denominator in responsive design (CPU, Screen Size/Resolution, Bandwidth etc.). While modern desktop browsers are really good at masking issues while mobile browsers amplify them. Lighthouse can be run against a single page or a progressive web app. It can be run in mobile or desktop mode.

By measuring user experience rather than technically when a page completes loading, Google simulates a more accurate picture of your users experience on your site. Google ranks higher quality sites appropriately, so you should care.

User Experience – Resources:

Yoast Blog – by Edwin Toonen – Edwin is a strategic content specialist. Before joining Yoast, he spent years honing his skill at The Netherlands’ leading web design magazine.

Run your own Lighthouse Audit, easily on Google’s site. Try it!:

For help implementing Lighthouse’s technical suggestions or monitoring, Reach out to us!

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