Web disaster – ft.com

Another web disaster.

All the talk about ft.com seems to focus on the paywall, and the merits of paying for content. Felix Salmon noted that the Paywall doesn’t work very well.

The website is abysmally slow to load, and unreliable, and the reason is bad construction and lack of attention to detail. Loading the home page I am served content from 31 distinct domain names. The Y-Slow tool gives it a D grade, a lot of that is because some of those 31 simply aren’t terribly good at what they do the FTs own servers don’t appear to be that badly configured, although it seems a bit odd that content in ft-static.com (even content that hasn’t changed in 7 years) is still served so it won’t be cached forcing the web browser to check if each fileĀ  has changed every time the page loads (which depressingly it does quite frequently as it automatically reloads after a set period presumably with the intent of ensuring the content is fresh, which causes my browser to grind to a halt whilst I wait the 50s load time).

In amongst the 250 items I think there are at least 7 different items that exist for tracking users usage. Whilst I sometimes think Google Analytics is a tad intrusive, using seven such tools suggests they simply don’t have anyone in charge of the whole website experience.

The FT seem to think the Paywall is a success counting “subscribers”, but I signed up as a free user to see some free content, and the website is completely unable to let me load the content in question. Clearly I wouldn’t sign up as a paying subscriber if the free access doesn’t even finish loading the page, I can only hope most of these subscribers are using a non-web means of accessing the content (mobile apps?), as I can’t imagine they’ll renew with such an awful web site experience.

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