Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Validate Website Performance - an introduction

This week we started to look at how we'd 'validate website performance'

Initially this entails learning about how to make websites that don’t suck. So far we’ve been learning all about how make websites work, now we’re going to look into what makes them work well.

To kick off, we had a think about what things annoyed us on the web. I didn't write any of these down, but you've probably got a pretty good list yourself.

If not, have a think about it now. Have a look at this website for some inspiration

Don't for a minute imagine that this is just a feel-good exercise - in 2004 a study of the U.S.A.’s online railroad booking service showed that poor website performance was costing Amtrak a cool $16 million dollars a year in lost revenue. Wouldn’t you just love a slice of that pie?

Come up with a good list of annoyances?

Here's a couple of lists made by other folks:

Check out:

Jakob Nielsen –
Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005:
and his Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design:
finally, a site dedicated to Web pages that suck:

We then went on to investigagte a few annoyances in more detail...


One of the recurrent themes is usability: poor navigation, inadequate search, bells and whistles getting in the way of the site's functionality, colour clashes - the list goes on.

How would you measure usability?

Read through this macromedia article and see what you could add to your own web site development toolbox:


What if the web page can’t display at all?

Use html validation. Download, install and run html validator for firefox on some of your own pages:


Broken Links

Any excuse?
How can you avoid them?
How often should you check?

Download, install and run Xenu’s link sleuth on your own Bathurst-tafe pages:

and that was about it for this week. Coming up: Site response times and stress testing.

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