[LINK] My School web site design

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Thu Jan 28 22:17:43 AEDT 2010

Hon Julia Gillard MP, Minister for Education launched the "My School" 
web site today: <http://www.myschool.edu.au/>.

This is intended to provide information to the public on schools, 
including the number of students and teachers, socio-economic status and 
literacy and numeracy test results. Media reports indicated problems 
with the site responding. I found the site would not respond at about 
9am, but by 9pm it was working well.

However some simple changes to the web page design could improve the 
site: <http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/2010/01/my-school-web-site-design.html>.

I ran some tests on the page for the "Montessori International College" 
(Buderim,QLD,4556) and found:

     * 140 HTML Markup errors
     * The W3C Mobile test reported: This page is not mobile-friendly!
     * An automated web accessibility test reported 6 Priority One, 37 
Priority Two and 86 Priority Three problems.

This school web page contained:

    1. document: 139.1KB (HTML, text and scripts),
    2. stylesheets: 26.4KB,
    3. images: 16.3KB.

The document contains 4.4 kbytes of text, only 3% of the total. This 
indicates an excessive used of HTML mark-up in the page design. Reducing 
this would speed up access to the site. Some simple changes would reduce 
the code size by two thirds.

The code shows an excessive use of nested DIVs. At one point DIVs are 
nested ten deep, to display just two images. The large amount of white 
space which this deep nesting causes may also slow the system down, 
depending on how the pages and generated and transmitted.

Also automatically generated identifier names appear to be excessively 
long, such as: 

In other respects the page is reasonably well designed. It is readable 
(perhaps more readable) with the styles turned off. However, it is not 
clear if the general public will be able to understand the complex 
tables displayed. It might be better to offer an introductory page for 
each school with summary data. This would also be a way to reduce the 
load on the server. Most readers will not read past the first few lines 
of text and therefore downloading the complex tables is a waste of 

Tom Worthington FACS HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/people.php?StaffID=140274

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