April 3, 2020 Addition of Display Performance to Web Content (Expected Qualities) – Continued

Kazuhito Kidachi
Corporate Director (CTO)

In late March, 5G services were launched in Japan by the large Japanese telecommunications companies Docomo, au and Softbank. One of the features of this fifth-generation mobile communication system, commonly referred to as 5G, is, compared to the past, the overwhelmingly high communication speed.

That said, it doesn't mean that we can neglect to improve display performance - the display speed of web pages. The era of mass adoption of 5G-enabled devices will not soon arrive and there will be no limit to user desires for high display speeds. So, the faster the display the better the user experience and the more positive the impression created.

Efforts to display content one second or even 0.01 second faster along with enhancing user operation should never end regardless of how much the communication environment evolves. I believe that continuing to challenge this notion will lead to sustainable business growth and conversions.

In a column I wrote last July titled “Adding Display Performance to the "Expected Quality" of Web Content” (in Japanese), we announced that by October 2019 that we'd like to add display performance to the "expected quality" of our development work, however we haven't touched upon our progress since.

As scheduled, last October we commenced full-scale operation of an in-house system for verifying display performance during our quality verification process. Then, for the following six months, we've been monitoring the Lighthouse measurement scores for all projects, as well as acquiring and sharing related knowledge company-wide.

To take this initiative a step further, from fiscal 2020, we've made it mandatory from April 1 for accessibility standards compliance projects to exceed a Lighthouse score of 70 for display performance (see our News Release “Starting Standards Compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1”(in Japanese)).

A value of 70 is neither too high nor too low and was determined as a realistic indicator based on our results from six months of monitoring. However, note that this number is only a guide and may change in the future. In fact, Lighthouse 6 has already been released in beta, and the score calculation method will change significantly, therefore we may review our approach accordingly.

As mentioned in the previous column, there are various views and opinions on whether or not to use the Lighthouse score as one of the quality criteria. Lighthouse scores are not absolute indicators and it is rare that an identical score to the one measured in-house will be secured through the actual distribution environment (the score may rise or fall).

However, our commitment to deliver products that meet certain standards, such as accessibility, display performance, etc., is meaningful and indispensable for our us – and we have been evaluated highly by our client companies for the quality of our products. This obligation is a new starting point for us to further improve display performance during production, and something I would like our entire company to work on.

For more information on our services, timeframes and estimates, as well as examples of our work, please feel free to be in touch.