Optimising for INP | web.dev

Google have recently announced a change to their Core Web Vitals metrics. The existing FID stat is being sunset, and replaced with a new way of measuring responsiveness: Interaction to Next Paint, or INP. Overall, it seems like a solid upgrade, with a better focus on real-world experiences (though I'd be lying if I said I fully understood the complex analysis being done to derive the final value).

Looking over the optimisations guide, there are definitely going to be some interesting new use cases for some of the performance-related additions to CSS and HTML, such as content-visibility, but the big hits look like they're going to come to some of my "favourite" negative trends of modern web dev (insert maniacal grin emoji here):

  • Large DOMs will be hit, which means there's now hopefully a strong(er) incentive to use semantic elements and avoid <div>-itis (and, by extension, UI frameworks that utilise dozens of wrapping elements or verbose class-name-to-element transformations);
  • SPAs will be hit, with Google openly stating that there's not much that can be done here;
  • Interestingly, I'd predict hydration could be hit even worse, as part of the metric measures how often a user clicks on an interactive element that isn't yet interactive, which feels more likely where hydration is being used. Though good use of loading states may alleviate that;

Some of the other suggestions around minimising "layout thrashing" and using timeouts to postpone non-visual updates on event listeners are interesting, but a bit beyond my level of JS optimisations.

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  • Murray Adcock.
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