Time To Interactive
Time To Interactive (TTI) is a lab metric used by Google to diagnose issues that could impact site performance.
While a page can look interactive and responsive, it doesn't necessarily have to be, as additional code may be loaded after the initial render. TTI measures the time from when a page begins loading to when the main page resources have been loaded and the page can reliably respond to user activity.
TTI is one of the six metrics analyzed by Lighthouse, so you can easily view the results in the Lighthouse performance section.
In the example above it takes a long time for the page to become interactive, possibly resulting in a poor user experience.
How is Time to Interactive measured?
For Lighthouse to recognize that the page is ready for interactions, the following criteria have to be fulfilled:
- Content is displayed on the page, as measured by the First Contentful Paint
- The network is quiet, and no more than two GET requests are in progress
- The page successfully responds to user interactions within 50 milliseconds, as tracked by the First Input Delay – in practice this means that the CPU is also mostly quiet
This timeline view from DebugBear shows that the Time to Interactive milestone is reached when the CPU becomes quiet. The small red and blue markers below the screenshots are CPU tasks.
What is a good Time to Interactive score?
A Time to Interactive score of 3.8 seconds or below is considered good.
While TTI is not one of Google's three Core Web Vitals metrics that impact SEO, it is still useful as a diagnostic metric to see how quickly your website finishes loading.
How does Time To Interactive affect Lighthouse scores?
As of Lighthouse 10.0, released in February 2023, Time to Interactive no longer impacts the overall Lighthouse Performance score.
Before that TTI accounted for 10% of the Performance score.
How to improve Time To Interactive
- Use code splitting to load only necessary code
- Use Lighthouse to identify opportunities for optimization
Modern browsers provide a Performance tab in the DevTools which gives you the ability to record page activity. Use this tab to gain insights about how time is spent when loading the page.
Implement code splitting
Where possible, remove third-party scripts or only load them where necessary.
Identifying opportunities for optimization using Lighthouse
Every site suffers from different issues causing poor performance. The opportunities section of the Lighthouse report gives specific details of what is causing a poor TTI score, and how the page could be improved. Each opportunity has a link to further helpful documentation on how to implement these fixes.
Here's an example of the opportunities section in a Lighthouse report:
The best way to tackle these suggestions and improve performance quickly is to go from top to bottom, from the biggest issues impacting your page performance to the more low-impact ones.
Measuring Time To Interactive
Various tools can help you optimize your website's performance:
- Google's PageSpeed Insights diagnostic tool
- Lighthouse in Chrome DevTools
- DebugBear's Website Speed Test
The easiest way to measure Time To Interactive is with PageSpeed Insights. After entering the page URL, PageSpeed Insights will run a performance test and report the relevant data. The TTI score can be found under the Lab Data section of the report.
PageSpeed Insights is based on Lighthouse, and you can also run Lighthouse on your computer. Lighthouse is integrated in the Chrome Developer Tools. The Diagnostics section of the report gives you a great overview of the issues causing a poor TTI. For items that are not self-explanatory, you can open the dropdown to reveal detailed information on how to tackle the issue.
One important thing to note: While Pagespeed Insights runs the test suite for mobile and desktop scan at the same time, in Lighthouse you can only run the test for either desktop or mobile at once. The mobile simulation usually results in a lower performance score, since the test is using a low-end mobile device.
Consider running Lighthouse in Chrome Incognito mode, as browser extensions and other saved data can impact the score negatively.
DebugBear Website Speed Test
The DebugBear Speed Test analyzes the loading speed of your website and reports a range of page speed metrics, including Time to Interactive.
After running the test you can open the Lighthouse tab and click on the Performance metric to see how much the Time to Interactive metric contributes to the overall score.
Click View Details on the Time to Interactive metric to see how it's determined and what you can do to optimize it.
How to monitor page speed and Time to Interactive with DebugBear
Continuous performance monitoring helps you optimize your website and get alerted when there's a problem.
DebugBear can keep track of key page speed metrics and provides in-depth reports to help you make it faster. Try it for free with a 14-day trial.
Our DebugBear performance dashboard shows trends of Lighthouse scores and metrics. It also shows the Core Web Vitals that Google uses as a ranking signal.
DebugBear continuously collects detailed reports for each metric, including Time to Interactive.