According to Kissmetrics, nearly 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Many websites today, when viewed on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, take significantly more time than that, due to content loading from one or more distribution networks, ads from another, and possibly fonts, beacons, and trackers from yet other sources.
By the time all the data loads up and gets rendered on screen, it’s quite possible that the user has already lost interest, or has moved on to other content elsewhere.
That’s why, in an effort to improve the mobile web experience, Google has introduced an open-source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to speed things up considerably, and hopes to roll it out in February 2016 to all mobile users. Working with content publishers, web developers, creators and consumers, the project aims to improve the mobile content ecosystem in general.
According to Paul Bakaus, Team Lead at Chrome DevTools and the AMP project at Google, “To users, Content is King, and the User Experience is Queen.” With that in mind, his team developed AMP with the following goals:
- It needs to make websites faster
- It needs to be easily validated
- It must be easy to implement
- It needs strong incentives
- It needs to embrace the open Web, not replace it
Without getting into the technical underpinnings here, we know that AMP implements RAIL, and is designed to control the page load chain for optimized loading times. One of the ways this is accomplished is by reducing the relaying and resizing of images due to different mobile screen aspect ratios and resolutions. Also, content above the fold gets priority, and the system follows a “Lazy loaded, accelerated approach” to ad loading.
According to its creators, AMP is guaranteed to perform well, and is well supported by existing browsers and operating systems. Google has put in place an easy to use code library that developers can use to make their mobile sites load faster.
These are interesting times in the mobile content space, and we look forward to great things from AMP and other initiatives that decrease load times and provide a more engaging experience on mobile devices.