Beyond Accelerated Mobile Pages

The trend towards a faster mobile experience as pioneered by projects such as Facebook’s Instant Articles, Apple News, and Google’s AMP Project have helped to push the publishing industry towards a back-to-basics approach to articles.

Note: As the publish date of this piece suggests, this was indeed an April Fools’ post. We currently have no plans to ‘disemvowel’ our websites.

At Trinity Mirror we have been particularly inspired by the rapid progress of the AMP Project, and its brutal approach to cutting out most JavaScript and slowly building essential features back in.

We were interested to see if we could push this any further, in a shorter timeframe, and on limited budgets. So we gave one person one laptop and one hour to investigate and build a faster mobile website experience.

Outcome

The results were impressive. In comparison to AMP, our new site (left) won on every page speed benchmark we tried:

Results from gtmetrix.com showed our new version beating the AMP alternative on all metrics

Approach

We were interested in getting down to the fundamentals of what is needed for a powerful article. Headlines and an article body are obvious.

And the more we thought about it the more everything else seemed like extra weight and load time that gets added to an article:

  • Pictures are heavy, people don’t always want to look at them
  • Videos take up bandwidth and data
  • Navigation is redundant on mobile; most people arrive at an article via search or social these days
  • Similarly, logos are a vanity stamp — people shouldn’t have to waste valuable KBs of their data allowance downloading them
  • Vowels are overrated — there are very few sentences you couldn’t understand without them
A live PAMP article — the best mobile experience since WAP

Result

As a result of this work, we’re proud to announce what we term ‘Primed Accelerated Mobile Pages’ (or PAMP for short). We’ve initially launched this for the Mirror at mrrrnln.co.uk, and we are looking to quickly roll this format out across our other sites, and hope other publishers may do the same.

As technology permits, we will build up the content types supported, and have some exciting work around translating images into classic ASCII art to make the medium more visual in the works.