Three Reasons Why You Should Care About Google Lighthouse

Karolina Szczur

Karolina Szczur

May 31, 2017

If you live and breathe site speed chances are you’ve already heard about Lighthouse. If that’s not the case, worry not, after reading this article you’ll understand why it’s an absolutely necessary tool for testing and improving speed.

Google Lighthouse lovely logo.
Google Lighthouse lovely logo.

What is Lighthouse?

Lighthouse is an Open Source auditing tool helping increase the quality of web pages and applications. Audits are conducted in a few key areas — performance, accessibility, best practices and Progressive Web Applications. It paints a comprehensive picture of possible user experience and developer bottlenecks in those domains.

An example of an Lighthouse audit and scoring.
An example of an Lighthouse audit and scoring.

Lighthouse can be used in various ways by developers and non-technical audience

Lighthouse is versatile. The easiest way to utilise it without touching your build pipeline is a Chrome extension or directly in Chrome Canary DevTools. That workflow is empowering for non-developer audiences. It enables Product Managers and Quality Assurance teams to quickly and easily assess and understand the state of speed of a given site.

Suddenly, site speed becomes a team concern, as it should have been in the first place.

Alternatively, there’s a command line interface that can be integrated into the build and deploy processes. Looking for something more automated, without development overhead? Search no more and check out Calibre’s continuous integration.

Lighthouse gives actionable performance advice

Building analytics software can be incredibly challenging. The information spat out a variety of command line tools and SaaS services is hard to digest, even for performance experts.

Presented with a wall of data without suggested remedies for bottlenecks? No surprise speed is still a hard sell to the business.

Fortunately, Lighthouse not only provides metrics but an actionable report referring to specific DOM elements, CSS selectors or infrastructure setup. No more navigating through the unknown waters. Performance becomes approachable.

Lighthouse is built by the best developers for the job

Maintained by a designated team within Google, Lighthouse has a significant advantage over most speed tooling projects.

Devtools engineers have a deep understanding of browser internals as well as developer tools because they build them.

People like Brendan Kenny, Patrick Hulce, Eric Bidelman and Paul Irish not only have an unfathomable amount of expertise but also direct access to API creators to create instrumentation crucial for speed tracking and benchmarking.

Additionally, Open Source sustainability is still an issue — prolific projects are left without direction when maintainers burn out. Fortunately, being supported by a commercially successful company, Lighthouse has a high chance of prevailing for a long time.

Speed is a pillar of user experience, yet so often overlooked. Developers are having a hard time obtaining budgets for paid tooling, audits or training. Businesses fail to see the value in pursuing improvements and critical bug fixes.

Lighthouse is an astonishingly useful suite empowering anyone to make the user experience of your product better. Providing not only metrics but also human-language advice it has become an indispensable part of our process. No matter if you’re building Progressive Web Apps or not, it’s a mandatory position in a quality assurance checklist.

🙏 Supporting Calibre

If you want to help us continue building Calibre, please consider ✍️ signing up for a plan, ❤️ clicking up-vote on Medium, 🐦 tweeting or even shouting 🗣 “Calibre” to the sky. Your support is absolutely needed, valued, and appreciated.

We have so much more that we’re excited to share with you as we continue our mission to make the Web fast for everyone. 🌍🌏🌎

Karolina Szczur

Karolina Szczur

Karolina is the Product Design Lead at Calibre. With years of design experience under her belt, she’s responsible for the comprehensive user experience spanning over product, visuals and content. Find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Addy Osmani

Addy Osmani

Engineering Manager at Google Chrome