Some of the UK's biggest companies are struggling to get to grips with basic web design concepts and should scrap their sites and start again, according to web usability experts.
Porter Research's second annual analysis of FTSE 100 companies' websites said that overall design, speed of loading and cross-browser compatibility were weak, and that many lack 'must have' content elements.
A third of sites still do not give their share price, or bury it away elsewhere, and one in five do not explain on their home pages what their company does.
A staggering 41 per cent provide no facility to search their sites for key information.
Other key home page elements include media and investors' areas and the importance of including details of the company's stance on corporate responsibility.
Rodney Tyler, managing director of web strategy and design consultancy Interactive Bureau, which commissioned the research, said that despite improvements Britain's top companies were still "wallowing in mediocrity" online.
While the overall standard has improved in the last 12 months, the study found that more than half of the websites visited still have problems in need of fixing.
And although a third of the home pages in question had been re-designed in the last year, alarmingly eight are considered worse now than they were before.
Sixteen are so bad they should be taken down and started again, the study said.
Schroders and Severn Trent Water, in 98th and 97th spots respectively (compared with 26th and 37th places last year), were singled out as poor website revamps.
"People like Schroders and Severn Trent have missed the boat completely. We wonder how much money they have wasted in the last year, only to achieve the seemingly impossible of making matters worse," Tyler said.
Julian Samways, head of corporate communications at Schroders, told vnunet.com: "This is just one of a number of surveys and they've all come out with different conclusions.
"We are always reviewing the website with a view to upgrading it. The website is a key part of communication and we will take the outcome of the report very seriously, but expenditure on the website has to be set in the context of other priorities."
Since the survey was conducted Schroders has appointed an in-house central web management team and updated aspects of the site, including its navigation facilities.
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