Spanish Websites Suffer From Poor Performance

WatchMouse research shows that 71% of IBEX websites availability is below industry standards
Press Release

Of the top 35 funds listed on the Bolsa de Madrid (IBEX), 25 have
websites with poor to dramatically poor availability. Many of the sites
are badly accessible or unavailable for more than an hour per month.

The worst site, that of Antena 3 TV, is even unavailable for an equivalent of more than 8 days per month.

This was the conclusion drawn from the first Spanish Site Availability
Index created by WatchMouse, a company supplying monitoring services
for websites and e-commerce applications worldwide. In order to
determine the extent to which the sites of IBEX funds achieve a
satisfactory uptime, WatchMouse ran its monitored the sites
continuously between October 23 and November 11, 2005. Every five
minutes, one of WatchMouse’s test stations tried to access the homepage
of the site, which was expected to download within 8 seconds, without
any errors.

An uptime of 99.9% is seen as the minimum acceptable level. This
percentage is also often quoted in service level agreements (SLAs) with
hosting providers. There were only five sites which achieved perfect
100% availability – Sogecable, Arcelor, FCC, BSCH and Altadis. The
availability of the three worst performers was less than 95%; Acerinox
(94.66%), Gamesa (86.54%) and Antena 3 TV with 73.05%.

Mark Pors, chief technology officer at WatchMouse, stated that he was
“very surprised” by the results. “With several sites, we found an
uptime that was worse than that of many smaller companies. This is
worrying as IBEX funds in particular should give a great deal of
priority to their corporate image. Maximum uptime should be part of the
overall ‘brand performance’.”

Pors suspects that for some sites, the popularity could be a reason for
poor availability. “Some of the sites belonging to IBEX funds will get
a lot of traffic. However, this is no excuse; if we look at large
online brokers in the US, for example, all achieve an uptime in excess
of 99.9%.”

A complete overview of the monitoring results of the WatchMouse Site Availability Index, listing the 35 sites, can be found on http://www.watchmouse.com/en/availabilityindex/2005/IBEX.php

About WatchMouse

Companies can easily monitor their own Internet sites using
WatchMouse’s monitoring service. WatchMouse has been monitoring
Internet sites and e-commerce applications for companies throughout the
world since 2002. WatchMouse has thousands of customers in more than 70
countries. The services supplied by WatchMouse are available in eight
languages, and analysis are performed from various locations and over
numerous networks, using a world-wide monitoring network.

Further information can be found at: www.watchmouse.com

Macromedia Announce MAX Winners

Airservices Australia and Tequila lead Australian success at the 2005 MAX Awards
Press Release

Macromedia today announced the winners of the 2005 MAX Awards, which
recognise the top digital experiences built with Macromedia
technology.   

The judges at MAX 2005 selected Airservices Australia as the winner in
the ‘government experience’ category for its ‘Flying Around’
project.  Created by Airservices Australia using Macromedia Flash,
Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Fireworks, and Macromedia FreeHand,
Flying Around is an informational website and interactive visual guide
to increase pilots’ awareness in and around controlled airspaces. The
site helps pilots operate safe and effective flights by providing
interactive charts, aerial photos showing new geography of the
landscape, specific information on each capital city, and controller
tips about hazards in areas of controlled airspace. To view the
website, click http://www.airservices.gov.au/pilotcentre/training/flyingaround/default.asp

Sydney-based developer, Tequila, also won the award for best media,
entertainment and gaming experience for its work on the Wedding
Crashers movie viral ‘Crash This Trailer’ for New Line Cinema. To view
the website, click http://www.weddingcrashersmovie.com/crashthistrailer/

Developed by Tequila with Macromedia Flash, New Line Cinema allows site
visitors to ‘crash’ the trailer for their film, Wedding Crashers. 
Visitors can upload a picture and become one of the five major
characters in the trailer.  Macromedia Flash animates the user’s
face, making it seem as if they are Owen Wilson or Isla Fisher.

“We’re consistently amazed and inspired by our customers’
groundbreaking work,” said John Biviano, managing director of
Macromedia Australia and New Zealand.  “It’s an honour to have the
opportunity to acknowledge their cutting-edge achievements in driving
great experiences on the Internet and digital devices with the 2005 MAX
Awards.”

Richard Turner-Jones, Visual Application Developer at Airservices
Australia, said, “We are very pleased to be recognised for our ‘Flying
Around’ website.  Every year, dozens of General Aviation (GA)
pilots stray into controlled airspace.  We found that many pilots,
both new and experienced, were straying into controlled airspace due to
unfamiliarity with the area, or because they were unaware of changes to
existing airspace.  By incorporating an ‘Interactive Viewer’ on
the website, pilots can now familiarise themselves with their flight
path before taking off, decreasing the risk of a serious incident
occurring.

“We chose Macromedia because we needed a solution that was easy to
maintain, could work across multiple platforms, and be able to cope
with different connection speeds and skill levels.  In developing
the site, we also found that the use of scripting inside Macromedia
Fireworks and Macromedia Flash made many repetitive tasks easier,” said
Turner-Jones.

Ajoy Roy-Chowdhury, Business Director at Tequila, said, “New Line
Cinema in Hollywood specifically chose Tequila because of our ability
to combine first rate Macromedia skills with world class digital
design. For Wedding Crashers New Line Cinema asked us to produce work
that would cut through the clutter of online movie trailers so our use
of Macromedia Flash had to be highly innovative and above all involving
for the consumer. Only Macromedia could have helped us deliver the
final product.”

Winners and finalists for the 2005 MAX Awards were selected by a team
of Macromedia judges based on design and development, usability,
application of Macromedia technology, and brand building.

For more information on 2005 MAX Awards finalists and winners, please visit: http://www.macromedia.com/go/maxwinners.

ABOUT MACROMEDIA

Experience matters. Macromedia is motivated by the belief that great
experiences build great businesses. Our software empowers millions of
business users, developers, and designers to create and deliver
effective, compelling, and memorable experiences – on the Internet, on
fixed media, on wireless, and on digital devices.

Designing Web Sites for an International Audience

Jacob Nielson’s site offers some good advice
Jakob Nielson’s web useability site has a new alert article on the
design of web sites to suit an international audience. Definitely some
useful points in here.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20050808.html

useit.com is
dedicated to providing useful information of web useability and
effective web site design principles. There is a free newsletter alert
of when new articles have been posted. The alert articles are highly
abbreviated forms of the full reports which have to be paid for.
However for serious web developers these are worth buying on a
selective basis. The shortened free alerts also provide great
information, just not all of it.

A great site and good, solid information.

Privacy Policies for Web Sites

Having an effective privacy policy can be a key to a successful web site.
A requirement for many web sites these days is a privacy policy. In
many parts of the world government regulations affect the collection,
storage and communication of information about individuals. There are
also international treaties affecting these areas.

Many web sites collect some sort of personal information. This could be
as little as an email address for a newsletter to full personal details
as well as racial, medical and sexual information, as well as bank
account and credit card data. Whilst views and regulations vary, most
privacy regulations boil down to these things:

*    Letting people know what information you are collecting and how

*    Describing what you use it for

*    Stating whether you will share it with anyone else

*    Showing how people can check and correct what information you do have

*    Allowing people to opt out if they want

*    Demonstrating that you protect their data

If your site collects any personal information you really do need a
privacy policy. A big part of making visitors to your site confident
enough to share their information with you is in building trust that
you are not going to abuse the information that you collect. You do
this by being completely open with them about your purposes and
practices. You can write this from scratch but you can also get some
help with this. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) has a huge amount of information available on all
sorts of topics. One of these areas is privacy policy. A search of
their main site (www.oecd.org) finds a Privacy Policy Statement Generator  and a step by step process to using it.
By answering an eleven page questionnaire about the information you
collect, how you use it, etc, the generator will create a draft web
page policy that you can then edit as needed. It makes a very good
starting point and also can serve to focus your thinking about privacy.
Note that the generator produces a .asp web page. Since it uses no ASP
features you can change the name to .htm (or .html) with no problems or
cut and past the code into one of your own web pages.

However you do it, make a privacy policy a priority for your web site if you collect any visitor information at all.