Meaningful UX performance metrics and how to improve them

Users don’t care how your website is built, what backend you’re running, or if you’re using the coolest JavaScript framework on the block. They only care about content. That content has to be meaningful, and it has to be rendered in the browser lightning fast, or you’ve lost them.

Performance metrics are critical for understanding the impact of our work as web developers on improving our user experience and making it a joy to use. But not all performance metrics do a great job of representing what our users actual see and experience. Network metrics have been around for decades, but rendering metrics are newer, and they’re doing a better job of capturing the moment critical content is visible.

Mark Zeman offers an overview of available rendering metrics, including newcomers like Time to Interactive and Time to First Meaningful Paint, and helps you pick the right metrics to focus on for your website and your users. Along the way, Mark outlines several techniques for improving the rendering experience of your websites, including delivering your brand in the first request, building a skeleton screen of elements, image SVG placeholders, and progressing rendering. You’ll leave armed with performance metrics and rendering techniques that will help you best improve your user experience.