In yesterday's column I noted that the New Zealand Computer Society's website
was somewhat unprofessional and could do with some attention.
I must admit that my examination of the site was only a cursory one -- but
Aardvark's readers have clearly been scrutinising it somewhat
more closely and have reported a number of other problems.
The Society has fixed the spelling mistake I reported yesterday (at least one of the
members is smart enough to read this column)-- but it still seems
that, despite running a "Partners In Excellence" programme on the site, they
don't really have a clue about such things as testing or quality control.
For example: clicking on the link labeled "Click to Enter" on
4 this page
was this morning (still) causing the site to cough up the source code rather
than rendering page being referenced. Clearly nobody involved in the construction
of the site has even bothered to clicked on that link!
Have Your Say
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If Aardvark's readers were able to spot this glaring gaffe then why didn't
the society of "eckspurts" who run the site?
However, the NZCS shouldn't feel too bad because they're in good company.
Take the example of the NZ Stock Exchange, they have been kind enough to
4 this useful form
on their website -- offering to help you decide whether to invest in shares.
Surely, given that the page appears to have been up for nearly six weeks, they
would have worked out by now that it's broken and that clicking the button at the
bottom simply produces an error message?
Come on people -- whether you're a society of professionals or the heart of
NZ's stockmarket -- you should engage an independent third-party to thoroughly
test your website for these kinds of stupid and easily discovered errors.
Everyone who runs a website should realise the value of checking the error
logs that the webserver produces. These logs will rapidly highlight the effects
of any broken links or faulty CGI scripts so their examination is an important
part of running and maintaining a site.
I am also constantly surprised by the number of business websites representing
seemingly successful companies and which appear to have been produced by a
seven-year-old (mis)using a copy of FrontPage.
There are plenty of very good web designers in this country -- use them!
Also, no professional or commercial site should ever be launched without
some form of independent site survey being performed. Maybe it's about
time we instigated "website warrants of fitness" to help maintain
a minimum level of quality amongst commercial sites? (I'd have suggested
a "Partners in Excellence" programme but that phrase has been forever
ruined me thinks ;-)
Battle of the local news sites
All the surveys indicate that news sites are one of the most popular
destinations on the Net and here in New Zealand we have a range
of options for the well-informed websurfer.
The newest kid on the block,
4 stuff.co.nz has integrated a number of
online news properties that formerly appeared under their own domains and is
a bold attempt by INL to stake its claim.
Until the arrival of INL's flagship,
4 The NZ Herald
was the undisputed king of the castle but has recently become a victim of its
own success as its servers struggle to keep up with the load. I gather that
the poor performance issue is presently being addressed so let's hope that those
annoying error messages and molasses-like loading is soon fixed.
TVNZ's recently rebranded and relaunched news site at
lacks depth and scope when compared to the other two dailies. It's also probably
not the site of choice if you like your newsfix first thing in the morning because
its publishing schedule seems to be focused on the early evening news bulletin.
So -- which of these sites is "best?" What makes a good news site better
than a bad one? Do you visit just one of these sites or all of them on a
Please, send me your thoughts and comments. I'll sumarise the results on
As always, your feedback is welcomed.