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UK PLC: the Net saints and sinners

ARM bad, Reed Elsevier good

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Updated again Internet laggards and dropouts have been named and shamed with a league table based on the Web site of firms making up the FTSE Top 100.

Processor design firm ARM, J Sainsbury and Royal Bank of Scotland earned brickbats for the poor performance of their Web sites, following tests conducted by audit and monitoring consultants business2www.com.

Reed-Elsevier, Tesco and Lloyds TSB were handed bouquets for producing corporate sites that performed well under the tests (which assessed server response times, site load times, errors and warnings).

The best performing Web site was www.reed-elsevier.com which recorded no site errors, no warnings, a fast response time and load speed during the tests.
Arm.com came bottom of the tested sites, with the highest number of errors and warnings, a server response time 50 times longer than the quickest, and a load speed twice as long as the best recorded.

Philip Sheldon, director of business2www.com, said the performance of many Web sites, in which a great deal is invested, is let down because of the failure to routinely apply basic quality controls.

Simple sites are less prone to failure but big complex sites (such as Tesco.com) with strong quality controls in place were almost error free, he added.

According to Sheldon, audits could reveal mistakes in coding, security flaws and user experience issues (such as JavaScript performance) which might otherwise go unnoticed.

The tests, believed to the first comprehensive objective audit of the corporate Web sites of the FTSE Top 100, were conducted using business2www's patented software which imitates consumer behaviour on a site.

From the tests a performance table was drawn up which gave sites a ranking that emphasises site errors and server response time, which are thought to be the two most important factors in Web site performance. ®

Updated

In an ironic twist, the page we linked to on business2www.com's site generates a run time error for IE6 users and surfers using IE5.5 on Windows 2000.

business2www.com have been in touch to say the linked page was an internal page usually linked to from the site as a JavaScript pop-up.

"It was never intended to be linked to from an external site, just as a page used as an internal frame in a site is not intended to be linked to from an external site, and may well not work correctly if referenced in this way," business2www.com explained.

The page has been altered to work from an external link.

External links

Links to the FTSE 100 corporate Web site tests

Website security in corporate America

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