Uni’s make a comeback in the second Sitemorse higher education benchmark

The websites of several UK Universities have been marked highly in new benchmark research from Sitemorse, after a previous survey in late 2011 was dominated by FE colleges.

Online PR News – 27-January-2012 – – The websites of several UK Universities have been marked highly in new benchmark research from Sitemorse, after a previous survey in late 2011 was dominated by FE colleges.

London’s LCA Business School, Walsall College, Warrington Collegiate, and South Cheshire College again top the sector survey, but this time there are high marks for Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, Birmingham University and Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA), named in The Guardian's University Guide 2012 as the top specialist arts institution in England.

Sitemorse conducts surveys of the websites of businesses and organisations, and has been benchmarking and publishing the detailed results for a decade. This is only the second time we have audited higher education websites against a list of criteria including code quality, accessibility and compliance. The full results from this, the first education survey this year, and other recent surveys can be seen on our website.

Well-respected business, accountancy and management college the London-based LCA Business School tops the benchmark, scoring 9.2 out of ten possible marks in a website survey covering nearly 300 education establishments across the UK.

Walsall, Warrington and South Cheshire Colleges maintain their top-of-chart positions but whereas last year there were no universities in our ‘top ten’, this time Heriot Watt, described as Scotland’s most international University scored 7.1, rising ten places in our survey, and NUCA , with history tracing back to 1845 but a University College only since 2008, scored 7.2 .

Websites change all the time, for better or worse, so there is always volatility in the survey results from our software-tested benchmarks. This time there were improvements noted in the College of Law and Hull College sites (both up 175 places from the last survey), the University of Birmingham, up 139 places and South Devon College, up 132 places.

Falling back from last time are Worcester College of Technology, down 213 places, Southport and Exeter Colleges, and the University of Reading, which have all dropped around 150 places in our table. The dubious distinction of having the least-efficient websites goes to Norwich City College of Further and Higher Education, also rated the slowest website based on load times on this survey.

Sitemorse concluded: This is only the second time we have benchmarked higher education websites, and we were pleased to see a slightly better performance from universities this time. Apart from those previously mentioned, there were better scores for Robert Gordon University, the University of Cumbria, Lincoln, Hull and Northampton universities as well as Manchester Metropolitan. There is still plenty of room for improvement, given how important these websites are for attracting the best and brightest new talent, but it’s encouraging to see a slight upward trend.

About our surveys, and how they work

For more than a decade, Sitemorse has been the world's only single solution for web content governance, monitoring, recording and benchmarking.

Our unique Index publications, published several times a year, provide an up to the minute snapshot of the best and brightest business websites, with insight into which are passing – and failing - vital tests in performance, compliance, and accessibility.

Our software is used to test the sites of major organisations in a variety of sectors, (for example, FTSE All Share companies, and the UK Top 500 retail companies) to compile an index of who ‘does the web’ best.

Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Our hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on us to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence.

Web content management systems alone cannot hope to cover major issues such as performance, compliance, brand, accessibility and quality without help. Our products integrate (including pre-live checking - within your CMS) to ensure these vital areas are constantly under control.

We offer three levels of products, from our enterprise platform 'Governisation', a blend of governance and optimisation, to a suite of tools to help web editors and managers, as well as free in-browser tools that can be used by any web user to quickly ensure pages are error-free (our web managers toolkit). All our services are SaaS based, with no set-up or management and are designed to ensure that our hundreds of clients in major corporations, the financial sector, and central and local government have total confidence in their websites.

Technical Data

This survey took place on January 4, 2012 and involved benchmarking more than half a million separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the New College, Stamford site, with more than 111,000 failures. Fastest overall response time from any site tested was the University of West London website. Just six sites were officially “error-free” according to the Sitemorse methodology.

More information

• More information about our surveys and what they test.
• For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 1525 375057, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com