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URLwire for Thursday, November 13, 2003 - Online news headline linking services are welcome to link to this story
 
Design Expert Analyzes Presidential Candidate's Web Sites 
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Web site design optimization expert Andy King has created a unique look at the Presidential candidates at his OptimizationWeek website.  Andy says all of home pages of the 2004 presidential candidates violate established speed and accessibility guidelines.
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speed up your site web site optimization cover  
Andy King is the founder of four developer-related sites including the one your are on, and the author of Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization from New Riders Publishing. He publishes the monthly Bandwidth Report and Speed Tweak of the Week. He enjoys highly caffeinated drinks and wild open spaces.
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As candidates turn to web sites to help pump up support, the difference between winning and losing in a tight race could come down to satisfying donors and voters online. Fast page displays and easy accessibility are two measurable prerequisites to user satisfaction. To see how well the candidates fare online, we analyzed the ten presidential homepages for speed and accessibility, and compared these results to existing guidelines. So how did the candidate sites measure up?

In a word, poorly. While some sites were constructed for faster display times, most failed in accessibility tests, and no site got high scores on all counts.

Size-wise the Democratic home pages averaged over 188K in total, with nearly 40 HTTP requests required per page. All of the home pages were above our recommended maximum of 30K for an 8.6 second load time. Presidential candidates must accomplish a number of things on their home pages, but in our opinion these pages are too large and complex.

Speed-wise these pages load useful content within 19.4 seconds on average for a 56Kbps modem. Ideally useful content would display within 2 seconds or less, like a navigation bar with a search or signup form. Total load time averaged 39 seconds for the Democratic candidates, and 45 seconds for the Republican. 

The full analysis can be see at http://www.optimizationweek.com/reviews/president/
 
 



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