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Levis TechTalk: How AMP Satisfies Our Need for Speed

amp

Back in the early days of the internet, a network’s limited ability to transfer bytes through wires quickly, and for our hardware to process those bytes, put a natural limit on how complicated websites could become.

As technology advanced, shipping bytes rapidly became more efficient, and cheaper. Developers saw no reason not to take advantage of this potential to its fullest, and the code running websites began to grow.

We’re coming around full circle. Once again, technology (and user habits) imposes limits on bloated code. In order to run websites efficiently on mobile devices, and to satisfy our collective need for instant INSTANT gratification, new coding and site delivery methods have become required for all websites.

If you want to grab user attention, and hang onto it, you should use AMP.

A Little Background

Most people with website experience are aware of HTML. This language first debuted in 1993 as a simple way to display text documents in web browsers.

As the years passed by, people’s desire to build more interactive and visually satisfying features into websites grew, and so did the complexity of HTML and all of its sibling technologies, particularly CSS (for more complex styling) and Javascript (for more interactivity).

While this stack of technology is flexible and accessible for developers, it has also become bloated and easily has the potential to become sluggish and slow to load.

People are no longer just reading pages of text on their computers; fully built, complicated and data heavy applications are being built, and technology is just expected to cope with moving around more data for each app and website.

Expectations are Changing

As people spend more time on their computers and especially their phones, expectations have risen on what is a suitable browsing experience.

Technology has been providing us with more information and functionality, and we have grown accustomed to a constant stream of information being delivered to us. If this stream of information is disrupted, slow or unappealing, we become impatient and move on.

In 2015, Microsoft released a study which found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. While some have disputed the integrity of the research, it is indisputable that if your website or app is too slow, users will abandon it and move onto something else.

AMP: Google’s Push to Get Things Moving Quickly

In the fall of 2015, Google launched a new HTML framework called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

The purpose of AMP is to optimize websites so they load more quickly on mobile devices. It accomplishes this in a couple different ways:

Rules: AMP strictly regulates how developers can code with HTML, Javascript and CSS. Bloated features, as well as some of the cooler interactive features, are not allowed.

Besides having fewer features, the structure of the applications and websites are controlled. This forces the developer to follow a series of best practices to make the AMP pages load as quickly as possible.

Delivery: AMP pages are hosted/cached by Google’s Content Delivery Network (CDN), a high performance network designed to deliver resources as quickly and reliably as possible.

Since server bottlenecks and sluggish performance are a common issue with page loading speed, Google has taken it upon themselves to deliver AMP pages to the user with an optimized delivery network.

The Big Guys are on Board

While AMP was originally created by Google, its support has been widespread. Other companies such as Microsoft and Cloudflare have their own CDNs, all browsers support AMP, and an ever growing list of vendors are adding AMP to their platforms.

Social media wants AMP, too. If your website platform (ie. WordPress) has AMP included, search engines and social media will handle the rest, and they will love it.

If your content has an AMP version available, search engines will index it, and social media will use the AMP version to share. They assist you to deliver the best user experience to your website’s mobile users.

You Should Be Too

How do you know if you are AMP enabled? You can check your HTML code if you know how to do that. AMP links look like this in the HTML:

(<link rel="amphtml" href="https://levismedia.com/saskatoon-web-design/Article/The-Levis-Where-Are-They-Now-Series-Bitcoin-Blues?amp=1"/>)

If you are curious if you have AMP enabled on your site or would like to know how to get it working on your current site, contact us!

Our Levis CMS and PRISM framework have AMP enabled on all of its modules by default. If you write a news article or blog, there will be an AMP version. If you create a product on our ecommerce platform, there will be an AMP version. Your CMS of choice should provide the same by default.

Next time, we’ll dig more into the benefits of AMP, why the big guys love it, and why your clients will too! Stay tuned for more.