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Lighthouse 9.0 includes API changes, user flows, updated reports and more

Google has released version 9.0 of Lighthouse, the website auditing tool for developers, SEOs and site owners. With this release, Google has updated the API, added user flows, refreshed some reporting, added new accessibility elements, and more.

9.0 is available. You can access Lighthouse 9.0 using the command line, in Chrome Canary, and in PageSpeed Insights which began rolling out this week. Google said it will also be part of the Chrome stable release in Chrome version 98.

Here is what is new. Google has made some changes to the Lighthouse API saying if you use the Lighthouse report JSON, there “may be some breaking changes in 9.0 that you need to be aware of.” Those technical changes are listed here.

User flows: Lighthouse 9.0 supports a new user-flow API that allows lab testing at any point within a page’s lifespan. Puppeteer can be used to script page loads and trigger synthetic user interactions, and Lighthouse can be invoked in multiple ways to capture key insights during those interactions, the company said. “This means that performance can be measured during page load and during interactions with the page,” Google explained.

Reports: Google has refreshed some of the reports within Lighthouse. The refreshed reports aim “to improve readability and make the source of the report and how it was run clearer,” Google explained. A final screenshot has been embedded at the top of the report to make it obvious at a glance if the page being tested loaded correctly and is in the format expected. Plus, the summary information at the bottom of the report has also been redesigned to better communicate how Lighthouse was run and the report collected.

Accessibility: In 9.0 of Lighthouse, all the elements sharing that ID are now listed.

Why we care. Google recently updated the PageSpeed Insights report and a lot of the features it uses is based off of Lighthouse. Using these tools can help you make your website faster, more usable and more accessible. In terms of SEO or rankings, the changes might not make a huge difference but this is more about your users and making them happy.

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