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Benchmarking Web Sites Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY UKOLN is supported by: URL

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Presentation on theme: "Benchmarking Web Sites Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY UKOLN is supported by: URL"— Presentation transcript:

1 Benchmarking Web Sites Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY UKOLN is supported by: Email URL

2 2 A Bit About Me... Brian Kelly: UK Web Focus – a JISC-funded post to advise HE and FE communities on Web developments Based in UKOLN – a national focus of expertise in digital information management Based at the University of Bath Involved in Web since 1993, while working in Computing Service at University of Leeds Strong links with Computing Service and Library communities The workshop has been informed by UKOLNs WebWatch work and the WebWatch column in Ariadne

3 3 A Bit About You... Could you turn to your neighbour and ask: What do you want to get out of this workshop? What do you think benchmarking is? D

4 4 Session Aims This session consists of: Hands-on exercises with group discussions By the end of the session you should: Be able to benchmark your Web site in relation to other sites in your community Have had hands-on experience in using auditing and evaluating tools Be aware of some of the limitations of this approach Have considered other types of benchmarking activity available

5 5 Benchmarking: A Definition Benchmarking is about identifying and measuring best practice processes that work elsewhere and then emulating them. The aim is to reduce duplication by learning from others who have already found the solution. It is about: Understanding your weaknesses Comparison with your peers Note that best practices are constantly evolving.

6 6 Guidelines Available Now You may feel it important to monitor: Compliance with technical standards Compliance with institutional guidelines Compliance with (e.g.) Government guidelines and legislation You may also wish to make: Comparisons with your peers Comparisons with other communities

7 7 Todays Exercises Hands-on exercises to evaluate : The look and size of your organisations home page The accessibility of your Web site The validation of your Web site How popular your Web site is How many sites link to it How many people visit it How your Web site looks with different browsers

8 8 The Size of Your Home Page You can find out the size of your home page using various tools: NetMechanic Bobby Ex. B1.1

9 9 The Look of Your Home Page What type of entry point is yours? A rolling demonstration of University entry points is available at: Ex. B1.5

10 10 Does it Work? It is useful to check key pages for accessibility, validation and functionality. Web page validators include: NetMechanic Dr Watson DrHTML - single pages only LinkTool Usable Web EchoEcho Ex. B2

11 11 Is it Accessible? The Bobby Web service can check the accessibility of individual Web pages The Bobby Java application can check the accessibility of Web sites Ex. B2.1, B2.7

12 12 Are there Broken Links? Monitoring the number of broken links on your Web site is very important Desktop and Web- based tools are available: Xenu LinkAlarm Linkguard Nodeworks NetMechanic SiteValet … Ex. B2.6

13 13 How Popular is Your Site? There are a number of services that will tell you how many pages link to your Web site WebSiteGarage LinkPopularity Netscapes Whats Related service is used through the Netscape browser Ex.B3.1 B3.2

14 14 Using Other Browsers Does your home page (and Web site) work in: Netscape very popular in UK HE) IE (the most widely used browser) Significant (all?) versions and platforms of above Lynx (text browser which may be used by visually impaired) AnyBrowser DejaVu Ex. B4

15 15 Comparing Statistics Hit counters have developed into comprehensive Web statistical services that can give immediate feedback: Web-based statistical services such as SiteMeter provides information on the whole site Nedstat provides information on individual pages Ex. B3.4

16 16 Benchmarking Exercises You will: Benchmark your Web site in relation to others in your community Record your findings And learn about: Some of the issues involved when using externally hosted Web tools Other benchmarking activities WebWatch surveys of communities E Once you have completed the exercises, report on your findings

17 17 Home Page Size Issues There are certain issues necessary for consideration when using these tools: What is a home page? Splash screens Spawning new windows Frames Graphics and graphics folders Dynamic pages robot.txt files See:

18 18 How Did Your Home Page Look? Types of entry points: Traditional menu structure Changeable page, with news Personalised page Dynamic page Splash screens Spawning new windows Pages requiring specialist browser functionality (e.g. plugins, Java support, etc.) What type was yours?

19 19 Other Benchmarking Activities What other type of benchmarking activities are useful? Monitoring Content Quality and Freshness New developments and technologies - scripts, other markup languages, personalisation Stress and security Search engine used on site and 404 pages Server numbers Visibility on search engines Usability e.g. by evaluating user feedback Performance checkers and Independent testing services

20 20 Performance Checkers Applications can be used to check the performance of your Web site but often at a price E-Test Suite Keynote Somix Entuity Prutsman Keep your eye on:

21 21 Next Generation V.Tools There is a need for sophisticated testing tools which: Use rules: which allow you to ignore types of errors can output special error messages for personal errors can be time or area dependant Can check all aspects of your Web site - network, machines, processes (code) and individual files Can mimic Web browsing behaviour (browsers, cookies, etc.) Examples of such tools include WebKing, Freshwater Software, WebCriteria, etc.

22 22 Independent Testing Services Occasionally it may be necessary to outsource testing. The benefits of doing so include: Saving time and resources Tapping in to outside expertise and experience dedicated to testing Testing tool independence Objectivity

23 23 Discussion What WebWatch surveys would you like to see carried out? Is there a need for a government funded WebWatch-type survey across all institutional Web sites? If so: –Who should do it? –How comprehensive should it be? –How would it be funded? Would you prefer to outsource your testing? Would you be interested in benchmarking regionally?

24 24 Conclusion Different tools give different results and results can be limited. The results should be analysed carefully - like statistics Independent testing services can be beneficial Comparison is useful However a league table is not enough, for this type of evaluation. To have a point there should be follow up action Any questions?

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