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The Web sites of Britain's biggest companies are "woefully inadequate" according to a report published earlier this week.

Many home pages are cumbersome, difficult to navigate, slow and bogged down with too many graphics. Others ignore the needs of shareholders with half of the FTSE-100 companies failing to publish their share price on the site or making it difficult to find.

The home pages of the UK's top companies were judged on a number of criteria including the availability of key information, overall design, navigation and technical performance.

London-based Web design agency Interactive Bureau found that hotel, restaurant and pub giant, Six Continents (formerly Bass), had the best home page followed by Kingfisher and CGNU Life Assurance.

Associated British Foods (ABF) - producers of Twinings Tea and Ryvita - was judged to have the worst home page beating supermarket chain, Morrison, and pharmaceutical outfit, CellTech into bottom place.

Introducing the report, Rodney Tyler chairman of Interactive Bureau wrote: "After more than five years of hectic Web development in the UK, many of our leading companies still have woefully inadequate Web presences.

"CEOs may spend millions on corporate re-branding, on having the finest executive suites and boardrooms, on getting their printed material looking just right, and on making sure they wear the right clothes and drive the right cars - all the things that speak to the quality and prestige of their enterprises.

"But, when it comes to the Web many of them seem happy to accept second best - or worse," he said.

Geoff Lancaster of ABF told The Register that the company's poor ranking in the survey was "not satisfactory" but explained that ABF was already in the process of reviewing the site. ®

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