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Site and Book Reviews

Here you'll find our reviews of fast or slow-loading sites and some suggested improvements. We also review the best books here if they strike our fancy. If you've found a site that you find particularly fast or slow let us know.

Review: The Whole Shooting Match Digital Film Restoration
We review the screening of The Whole Shooting Match, a lost classic film that was digitally restored. Time is running out for our classic films and producer Mark Rance says digital restoration is the answer. Jan. 4, 2008.
Book Review: Influence: Science and Practice
We review and summarize a classic book on human psychology. Influence shows us how six core techniques are used to persuade people to say yes. Through dramatic examples and psychological principles Robert Cialdini shows how "influence practioners" tap into our mental shortcuts to get people to comply with their requests. Oct. 3, 2007.
Book Review: CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions
This 255 page book shows intermediate to advanced CSS designers best practices for using CSS to design websites. The book brings together the most useful CSS techniques into one place. Aug. 22, 2007.
The Average Web Page
We report on some preliminary results for the size and composition of the average web page. The results are from a crawl of the WebSeer HTML rendering engine by Ryan Levering and Michal Cutler. Oct. 26, 2006.
eGovernment Site Credibility: Comparing Speed, Accessibility, Typos, and Validity
Is your government credible, or not to be believed? See how five major powers stack up in this web site shoot out. September 12, 2006.
John Wilkin on the U-M - Google Digitization Project
We summarize John Wilkin's talk on the massive U-M - Google book digitization project in Google's quest to become the modern equivalent of Alexandria. April 18, 2006.
Slow Download Times Haunt Halloween Sites
Oooh, it's downright scary how long some Halloween shopping sites expect visitors to wait. Home pages haunted by usability ghouls and bandwidth goblins may leave these sites drowning in blood-red ink. Pull up a crypt, we'll leave the fright on for you. October 12, 2005
Book Review: More Eric Meyer on CSS
Eric Meyer's latest book is a collection of ten conversion projects that teach you CSS by example. Converting to CSS is one of the most effective web site optimization techniques. May 3, 2004
BusinessWeek.com Has Slow News Day
We review BusinessWeek.com for speed and accessibility. How long will informavores wait for the news? Apr. 4, 2004
Flowing with Yann Arthus-Bertrand
We review Yann Arthus-Bertrand's site to view the Earth from Above and find it flow-inducing. Look behind the scenes to see how the designers used efficient Flash and percent-done feedback to keep users engaged. Mar. 12, 2004
Valentine Flower Sites No Bed of Roses: Usability Thorns Await
With Cupid waiting in the wings, we aim our slings and arrows at flower delivery sites. Will these Valentine sites deliver your love, or just raise your blood pressure? Feb. 10, 2004
Super Bowl Site in No Rush
Do you need broadband to enjoy SuperBowl.com? How accessible is the site for people with disabilities? Our Super Bowl reporter investigates. Jan. 28, 2004
Shipping Bits: Who's Faster on the Web? FedEx, UPS, or DHL?
Shipping speed in the offline world is measured in days. But on the Web, users absolutely have to have it within 8 to 10 seconds. Find out how FedEx, UPS, and DHL stacked up for web delivery speed. Jan. 16, 2004
Slow Shopping Sites Delay Santa: Scrooge Response Times
Popular shopping sites put unnecessary wait on Santas worldwide, increasing anxiety for last-minute shoppers. Optimization Week's recommendations could speed up Santa's sleigh and give savvy sites an edge. Dec. 17, 2003
Overweight Travel Sites Delay Holiday Travelers
The Shangri-La of travel sites would feature speed and ease. Years after the first travel site appeared on the Internet we have to ask: "Are we there yet?" To find out, we compared the home pages of Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity for speed and accessibility. Dec. 4, 2003
Epicurious.com Needs Wait Loss Recipe
We taste test the Epicurious.com home page for speed and accessibility. Make sure that you don't burn your butterball waiting for that recipe. Nov. 26, 2003
Big Three Automakers in Online Slow Lane
Car companies compete on the road, but how do they fare online? We compared the homepages of Ford.com, GM.com, and Chrysler.com for speed and accessibility. Read on to see which site has the fastest onramp, and the best ergonomics. Nov. 19, 2003
Presidential Homepages Violate Speed and Accessibility Guidelines
Will the presidential homepages bring home the bacon? Not without fast page display and easy accessibility. Read on to find out who is fastest on the draw, and best in accessibility. Nov. 12, 2003
Home Depot Needs Home Page Improvement
Home Depot recently revamped their web site to "streamline" the user experience. Our analysis shows that they have some more performance and accessibility problems to address. Nov. 3, 2003