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Page Experience Update: Interaction to Next Paint IN, First Input Delay OUT!

Feb 16, 2024   |   Industry News, Web Design and Promotion
Page Experience Update: Interaction to Next Paint IN, First Input Delay OUT!

Since its launch in 2021, the Page Experience Algorithm has been an important ranking signal for websites. On one hand, it gives Google the right to judge whether a website is meeting user experience expectations, and on the other hand, business have well-defined metrics to ensure their websites are performing their very best and offering the best possible user experience.  

Come March 12, 2024, there’s an important update to the algorithm. Interactive to Next Paint will replace the existing metric – First Input Delay. The reasoning? 

Why First Input Delay is being replaced 

Quoting SEJ’s Roger Montti, “FID measures how fast a browser can respond to user interaction with a website, like how long it takes for a response to happen when a user clicks a button on a website. The thing about FID is that all major content management systems have lightning-fast FID scores and platforms that aren’t as optimized are just 5% less.”   

A drawback to this is that 90% of user time on a web page is spent after the initial load. Reiterating, it only measures the time until the browser starts processing the interaction.  

Which means that most websites are meeting the FID requirements, indicating job done, and a harder task for Google to distinguish between websites for ranking – considering this one metric only of course.  

How Interaction to Next Paint is different 

FID basically measures a single interaction whereas INP measures groups of individual interactions that are part of a user action.  

How Interaction to Next Paint is different

Based on Google’s article, they said, “INP better captures the end-to-end latency of individual events and offers a more holistic picture of the overall responsiveness of a page throughout its lifetime 

With INP, we plan to expand that to capture the full event duration, from initial user input until the next frame is painted after all the event handlers have run. 

We also plan to measure interactions rather than individual events. Interactions are groups of events that are dispatched as part of the same, logical user gesture (for example: pointerdown, click, pointerup).” 

More detail. This metric will encompass Tab, Click, and Keypress events starting from their initiation on the page until the subsequent screen update. 


To illustrate, let’s examine the following scenario: 

For instance, a “Rage Click” situation arises when a user clicks on an element anticipating an immediate response. However, if the response is delayed, the user may grow impatient and repeatedly click, inadvertently triggering multiple actions on the same button. Such occurrences will be identified and addressed as Input (INP) issues.  

Through the adoption of this refined measurement methodology, the goal is to attain deeper insights into user interactions, ultimately facilitating a smoother browsing experience.  

How Milestone CMS ensures websites meet the Interactive to Next Paint requirement  

In ensuring that Milestone CMS websites meet the Core Web Vitals requirement for Interactive to Next Paint, several optimization strategies are employed. Some of which are: 

DOM Size Reduction: Large DOMs can impose heavy rendering workloads, particularly when interactions modify the DOM. Milestone CMS avoids overly complex layouts and layout thrashing, while also minimizing the size of the DOM where feasible.  

Input Delay Optimization: Milestone CMS prioritizes minimizing input delay, ensuring that interactions are promptly processed without unnecessary delays.  

Optimization of Long Tasks: If JavaScript tasks on the main thread are consuming significant time, Milestone CMS optimizes them to ensure smoother page loading. This involves identifying and addressing excessive script evaluation tasks that may lead to delays. 

Simplification of CSS Selectors: Complex CSS selectors can exacerbate rendering workloads, especially in response to user interactions. Milestone CMS advocates for the use of simpler selectors to streamline rendering processes. 

Client-Side Rendering Considerations: Websites that rely heavily on client-side rendering of HTML through JavaScript are mindful of the potential impact on interactivity. Milestone CMS provides insights into how client-side rendering practices may affect overall website performance and responsiveness. 

To assess whether your website is meeting the INP requirements or benchmark of <200ms to load, Google has added the INP Report on Google Search Console which will replace the FID metric as a core web vital effectively from March 2024.  Click here and select your profile to access the report.  

With Milestone SEO-first CMS, we’re ensuring that all our websites are sending Google the right page experience signals and more importantly, that your customers have a seamless on-page user experience. As we speak, all CMS websites are already equipped to meet the requirements of the INP metric ensuring that your websites offer the most seamless user experience.  

As mentioned by Google, “If you have been following our guidance to improve Core Web Vitals, you will have considered the responsiveness of your pages already. The improvements made for FID are a good foundation to improve INP and the responsiveness of your pages.” With Milestone Insights, you even have transparency of how well your web pages are performing in terms of Page Experience and Core Web Vitals – with the advantage of comparisons against your direct competition and real-time recommendations for improvements of the metrics, when required.    

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