Weblogs: Web Accessibility

SiteMorse and Site Confidence conflict on download speeds

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dan Champion, an established accessibility professional, has unearthed an interesting conundrum. What if two automated testing tools tested the download speeds of the same websites, and reported quite different results? It'd never happen, right?

Well, it has happened. SiteMorse and Site Confidence report differing download speeds on the same sites. When compared side-by-side, the results vary wildly. The clever thing about automated tools is that they are consistent, they work consistently, they break consistently. And yet, two tools carrying out the same test, arrive at two different results. That doesn't sound right at all. SOCITM, in their wisdom offer this explanation:

The reality is that both the SiteMorse and Site Confidence products test download speed in different ways and to a different depth. Neither is right or wrong, just different.

So much for automated tests being based on measurable and comparable standards. Its certainly yet another nail in the league table coffin. Perhaps SiteMorse and Site Confidence should get together and understand what a download speed actually is before publicly criticising websites?

A public technical explanation from both organisations as to what they think they are measuring, and why their results don't correlate, would be useful.

Or to paraphrase a previous SiteMorse utterance: "How are we supposed to trust your tools if they don't give consistent results?"

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