Google Chrome's Lighthouse 10 now features two additional audits

Russell Kidson
Feb 18, 2023
Google Chrome

Google Chrome's Lighthouse 10 now features two additional audits

The recently launched Lighthouse 10, which underpins PageSpeed Insights and Chrome DevTools, has introduced two fresh site audits that could prove beneficial for comprehensive site audits due to their emphasis on user experience and security factors. One of the audits is technically an extension of an earlier audit, but it functions as a new audit in essence.

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Lighthouse encompasses various types of audits, such as Accessibility Audits, Best Practices Audits, Performance Audits, Progressive Web Apps Audits, and an SEO Audit. The two newly added audits belong to distinct audit categories within Lighthouse. One audit is included in the Best Practices audit, while the other is part of the Performance audit category.

The new bfcache audit

An often overlooked aspect of webpage optimization is the implementation of Back/forward cache, or bfcache. Bfcache is a type of cache that permits webpages to load instantly when users navigate back or forward within a website, thereby facilitating a smoother browsing experience. In the absence of bfcache, users are required to download webpages a second time when navigating backwards and forwards within a website, resulting in slower loading times. Enabling bfcache results in an immediate loading experience for site visitors.

This is how Google’s developer page explains bfcache:

‘The back/forward cache (bfcache) stores a snapshot of the page in memory for when the page is restored from the navigation history. This significantly speeds up return navigations to the page, however some browser APIs (e.g. unload listeners) can cause the bfcache to fail and the page will be loaded normally.’

To ensure that pages are eligible to be stored in the bfcache, certain best practices must be adhered to. The first key optimization is to avoid using the unload event.

This is what says:

‘The unload event is problematic for browsers because it predates bfcache and many pages on the internet operate under the (reasonable) assumption that a page will not continue to exist after the unload event has fired. This presents a challenge because many of those pages were also built with the assumption that the unload event would fire any time a user is navigating away, which is no longer true (and hasn’t been true for a long time).’ isn’t alone, Mozilla agrees:

‘Warning: Developers should avoid using this event..

Luckily Lighthouse 10 has an audit for bfcache now. The bfcache audit evaluates webpages by navigating away from and then returning to them to identify any issues with the use of bfcache. The audit classifies issues into three categories: actionable, pending support, and not actionable. Actionable issues are problems that can be resolved, while pending support denotes features that Chrome does not yet support, preventing the webpage from being cached. Issues classified as not actionable are external to the webpage and cannot be controlled or fixed.

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Expansion of 'Paste Into Passwords Field' Audit in Progress

Enabling users to paste passwords into password form fields enhances security by allowing the use of password managers that generate robust passwords. Conversely, disabling this feature restricts site visitors from using such password managers. Earlier versions of Lighthouse solely tested password fields for this best practice related to pasting into form fields. The latest version, Lighthouse 10, enhances this audit by expanding its scope to test whether pasting into any input field, except readonly fields, functions properly.

Google has emphasized the significance of this new audit by stating, 'For most sites, preventing pasting is a net-negative user experience and prevents legitimate safety and accessibility workflows.'

A readonly input field refers to a form field that is pre-filled with a default entry. All other input fields, however, should permit pasting, as it enhances accessibility, user experience, and security.

Google's developer troubleshooting page for this audit type suggests the following solution for addressing this issue:

To enable pasting into password fields, it is recommended to identify the code that is blocking pasting. This can be done by expanding the Event Listener Breakpoints pane, selecting the paste checkbox under the Clipboard list, pasting text into a password field on the page, and then inspecting the first line of code in the related paste event listener. Once identified, the JavaScript listener script can be removed to resolve the issue.

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Two new audits for Lighthouse 10

Numerous SEO audits disregard security issues, presumably because security is not perceived to impact ranking, a belief that is arguably inaccurate. Experts have long maintained that security is indeed an SEO issue, as inadequate security measures can negatively affect rankings. Therefore, in the view of many users, a security check should be incorporated into SEO audits to identify potential threats that may compromise rankings.

Lighthouse 10 is currently available through the PageSpeed Insights tool and is set to launch with Chrome version 112 on March 29, 2023. Users may test the latest Lighthouse 10 via the Chrome DevTools interface using Chrome Canary, which features all of the latest functionalities ahead of the regular Chrome browser.



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