Everything About Interaction to Next Paint (INP)
Good website performance is essential for businesses to succeed in the digital age. It impacts user experience, search engine ranking, and overall customer satisfaction. A slow-loading website can cause customers to abandon their shopping carts or leave a wrong impression of your brand, leading to lost revenue and missed opportunities.
By understanding how web performance works and taking steps to optimize it, businesses can ensure that their websites are fast, reliable, secure, and engaging for visitors. This article will explore everything you need to know about Interaction with Next Paint (INP) – an interactive painting metric used by web developers to measure website performance.
As Google and other search engines prioritize the speed of a website, INP provides an accurate measure of how quickly content is displayed and interacted with on your site. It measures a website’s user experience with four elements: painting time, interaction time, first paint, and scroll speed to give you a score.
What is INP (Interaction to Next Paint)?
Interaction to Next Paint, or INP, is a fascinating concept that has gathered attention in the digital world. Simply put, it’s a metric that measures how quickly a user can interact with a web page after it has started loading. This is critical because the speed at which a page becomes interactive directly impacts the user experience. If a user clicks a button or tries to scroll, but the page isn’t ready, they will likely feel frustrated and may even leave the site. Thus, INP is a valuable tool for web developers and designers striving to optimize their sites for the best possible user experience.
What is a good Interaction to Next Paint (INP) Score?
Understanding the value of a good Interaction to Next Paint (INP) score is like grasping the importance of a swift response time in a conversation. In the world of web performance, a good INP score is often seen as a golden standard. But what makes an INP score “good” might not be as straightforward as it seems.
Typically, an INP score is measured in milliseconds, and the rule of thumb is the lower, the better. Generally, a score below 200 ms is considered excellent. It means that the webpage is highly responsive to user interactions, creating a seamless and smooth browsing experience.
- An INP below or at 200 milliseconds means that your page has good responsiveness.
- An INP above 200 milliseconds and below or at 500 milliseconds means that your page’s responsiveness needs improvement.
- An INP above 500 milliseconds means that your page has poor responsiveness.
However, achieving a good INP score isn’t a simple task. It requires diligent optimization of various elements on the webpage.
This can include minimizing the impact of third-party scripts, reducing main thread work, and keeping both request counts and transfer sizes small. By paying attention to these details, you can improve your INP score, ensuring that your users enjoy a quick and responsive browsing experience.
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How Exactly is INP different from First Input Delay (FID)?
Interaction to Next Paint (INP) and First Input Delay (FID) are two different metrics used to evaluate the user experience on a webpage, but they focus on unique aspects. INP is a measure of how responsive a webpage is during the time a user is interacting with it.
On the other hand, FID focuses more narrowly on the delay between when a user first interacts with a web page (like clicking a link or tapping a button) and when the browser actually responds to that interaction. This metric is crucial because it gives us an idea of how long users must wait before getting a response from the webpage.
Scope of Measurement:
- FID: Focuses solely on the first user interaction delay.
- INP: Accounts for subsequent interactions, offering a more comprehensive measure of user experience.
Definition of Latency:
- INP: Measures the total time between user input and the subsequent paint, considering all page interactions and whole interaction latency.
Evolution of Metrics:
- FID: It’s a previous Core Web Vital metric used by Google to evaluate the responsiveness of a website.
- INP: is a new, experimental metric set to replace FID in March 2024, providing a more accurate representation of web page responsiveness.
Impact on SEO:
- FID: It is an essential factor in Google’s Search algorithm. A poor FID score could negatively impact a website’s search ranking.
- INP: will play a similar role once it replaces FID, and website owners should start preparing for this change to maintain their SEO performance.
How to Measure INP (Interaction to Next Paint)?
Measuring Interaction to Next Paint involves a more comprehensive approach than some other web performance metrics. It’s not just about taking a single snapshot; it’s about understanding user interactions’ continuous flow over time. You want to assess how smoothly a webpage responds and adapts as users click, scroll, or input data. There are various tools available that can help you measure INP, which are mentioned below:
The npm module of the Lighthouse tool:
This open-source, automated tool can measure Interaction to Next Paint by running a series of tests on a webpage. It produces a report which shows the time between user interactions and webpage reactions, as well as other performance metrics.
Web Vitals Extension of the Chrome:
This extension helps you measure Interaction to Next Paint on a webpage in real time. It displays the time between user interactions and page reactions in milliseconds.
User Flows in LightHouse:
This visualization tool helps you understand how users interact with a web page and measure Interaction to Next Paint. You can track the entire path of users from page to page, and identify points where INP is lagging.
How to Improve INP?
Improving Interaction to Next Paint is essential for website performance, as it allows users to quickly and easily navigate from one page to the next. Excellent INP will ensure that users stay engaged and find all the information they need while browsing your website.
Moreover, as Google is now taking website user experience more seriously when ranking websites, it is essential to make sure that your INP is optimized. Below are some of the important tips to improve Interaction to Next Paint and deliver a better user experience.
A well-thought-out plan is essential for success in any endeavor. The same applies to improving one’s INP score. Planning out the desired goals and the steps to achieve them, it makes it much easier to accomplish those objectives. You need to audit your current INP score, evaluate existing strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and create a strategy to reach those objectives.
After that, the next step of planning is to identify the resources that will be required for the improvement process. Resources can range from studying relevant material and taking appropriate courses to practicing with sample INP tests.
Remove Unused CSS & JS:
It’s highly recommended to audit regularly for redundant scripts and remove them as soon as possible. In addition, tools like Google Chrome’s Developer Tools can be used to diagnose and debug web page issues that could be contributing to a low INP score of your website.
Minimize JS & CSS:
Minifying the scripts can be done manually or using online tools like CSS Compressor and HTML Minifier. Additionally, it’s recommended to use CDNs or content delivery networks, which allow web pages to be served from multiple locations instead of a single server.
Use Caching Plugin:
A caching plugin is also an effective way to boost your INP score. This plugin stores frequently requested web page resources, such as images and scripts, in the user’s browser. The stored items speed up page loading times when users revisit a website. A good example of a caching plugin is WP Super Cache, available for WordPress websites.
The caching process helps websites to improve their INP score by reducing page loading times. It also helps pages become more interactive, as they are served faster and thus respond better to user requests. Moreover, caching plugins can further enhance a website’s performance by compressing image sizes and other resources.
Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can also help improve INP scores. CDNs are networks of servers worldwide that store copies of web page content and serve it to visitors from the closest server. This reduces latency, resulting in faster page loading times and, thus, better user experience.
In addition, CDNs can be used to store large files, such as videos and audio files. This can help to reduce the load on a website’s servers while still delivering content to users faster than if the files were hosted on a single server. Google also provides Cloud CDN, which is a service optimized for Google Cloud Platform customers.
Another way to improve INP scores is to optimize images. Images tend to take up the most space on a website, and if they’re not optimized properly, they can significantly slow down page loading times. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that images are well-compressed and saved in the correct format.
Using an image optimization plugin like WP Smush can help to reduce image sizes without compromising their quality. This will ensure that pages load faster and, thus, improve the website’s INP scores. With optimized images, the overall user experience is also improved and visitors are more likely to stay on the website for longer.
Reduce Third Party Code:
Using third-party code such as social sharing buttons, comment sections, and ads can slow a website’s page loading times. Therefore, minimizing the amount of third-party code used on a website is essential to improve INP scores. It’s also essential to ensure that any code from third parties is properly optimized and updated regularly.
For instance, if you are using a social sharing plugin on your website, it’s important to ensure that it is up-to-date and optimized for the best performance. This will help to reduce page loading times and, thus, improve INP scores. The best way to do this is to use a regularly updated and well-maintained plugin.
INP (Interaction to Next Paint) is an important metric for website performance, and it should not be overlooked. Improving INP scores requires a combination of multiple strategies, such as optimizing images, reducing third-party code, and improving page loading times. With the right strategies in place, you can improve your website’s INP scores and provide visitors with a better user experience.
In addition, it is important to regularly monitor your website’s INP scores and make adjustments where needed. This will help to ensure that your website continues to perform well and is up-to-date with the latest web standards. Doing so will help to keep your website at the forefront of web technology and provide visitors with an enjoyable user experience.