Ving.se being Sweden’s best web site? I think not

What’s in an award, really? Swedish computer magazine Internetworld has just given the Sweden’s Best Web Site 2007 award to the supposedly best web site in Sweden.

Their pick fell on the travel web site Ving.se, a charter travel web site. Interested in if Ving has shaped up since the last time I saw it, a long time ago, I decided to give it a little test drive.

Technical breakdown

You go to the start page, and immediately you’re met by 259 validation errors, and 12 validation warnings. Mind you, this is with a transitional doctype, which is very forgiving. Pick your doctype and validate, maybe?

Let’s try and resize the text. Ooops, nothing adapts to the text size and you soon have a text overflow resulting in a web site which is completely illegible. Good thinking, nice poster you have designed. Oh, wait, it’s supposed to be a web site!

Semantics: Nice, using an unordered list for the top navigation menu. Maybe there’s some hope here! Hmm, I see a H2, but where’s the H1? And H3H6 for that matter? Wait, hang on, is that only tables used for layout? Mixed upper- and lowercase tags, literally riddled with inline CSS and JavaScript? Et cetera.

JavaScript turned off: Let’s try that booking helper in the smack middle of the start page. But, it’s completely empty? Where did all cities and destinations go? Oh, I have to have JavaScript for that? Jeez…

Document size: 905 kb. Wow. Really. It takes some effort to fill one single web page with that much content. Content size breakdown:

HTML document
117 kb
Images
529 kb
Scripts
206 kb (mind you, these are minified)
CSS files
54 kb

Google has decided to rank it with a staggering PageRank of 2. This translates to worthless content which isn’t very reliable.

The award motivation

Basically, the jury find that Ving gives you such a desire to travel, and that its Flash eye candy is outstanding. It says that Ving.se is indeed Sweden’s best web site, “all categories”.

Are you for real? Are you fucking kidding me? I can understand that they like things that look pretty (what’s pretty is in the eye of the beholder, but that’s a completely different story), and give them that satellite pictures and travel stories are god things. But really, to completely disregard any technical or usability aspect and at the same time stating that it’s is the best, all categories, sounds to me like the jury is incompetent.

Congratulations to Ving, though. Good on you. Maybe next time you will use actual web developers to put the web site together?

If Ving.se is Sweden’s best web site, I think I should emigrate…

17 Comments

  • The Internetworld award is nothing but a pathetic joke.

  • Great slam in the face on both Internetworld and Ving, Robert! I needed a good laugh. Like Roger says, the award is a pathetic joke, to say the least.

  • Mega69 says:

    What a bad site…

  • Steven Clark says:

    Don't emigrate here though… a couple of years ago a real estate site won best website in Tasmania and I made a lot of local feathers twitchy because I pulled it apart. I really liked how it required javascript for the main menu and I couldn't get inside to most pages any other way… great high bar set. So I feel your pain πŸ™‚

    Recently, and I can't name the site cos I'm trying to be good about these things now, a local government department decided Flash was their new tool of choice. So Flash it is (just launched) and all they have done is tiny text in the bottom left below the fold that says "print only version"… which is in fact the standard government "print version"… So that naturally also posesses all the same rubbish issues that the original site posessed before the redesign… of course its pretty (unusable) so they will throw accolades at it and more departments will want to go that way.

    sometimes when people have these mental spasms and hand out awards I have to run to the bathroom and gag – or drink whiskey to forget.

    I suggest the whiskey πŸ™‚ but that's a personal choice Robert. I totally agree with this article BTW.

  • Sam Hill says:

    Oh gosh if you want them to consider standards why don't you email them about it.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for your comments. The thing is, I don't have a real problem with bad sites, but what I strongly dislike is when so-called professionals deliver such a web site as this, and media then hypes it up.

    Steven,

    That's just awful.

    Sam,

    I'm glad you asked! First, let me point out that this is about a lot more than standards, for the record. Then, to answer your question:

    It's about PR, and about letting the world to know, not just them. If you search on Google now for Ving.se this post is number 4. That means that people looking for Ving will get to know that it's not all it's cracked up to be.

    Also, since a computer magazine states that it is the best web site, I think it's important to counter that with facts why it's not, and then inform web developers about this.

  • Johan L says:

    Hello Robert,

    Nice reading, great to hear family life hasn't torn you apart totally. You still seem alert and on your guard πŸ™‚

    /Johan

  • Andreas says:

    I saw this on idg.se the other day. Went over to ving.se and had a quick look under the hood. My eyes turned red and I got a dodgy feeling in my stomach so I quickly closed that tab.

    I think it's absolutely ridiculous that internetworld's jury actually is that incompetent.

    Arla.se isn't perfik, but far better imo. Not that I ever really use it, but code-wise at least.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Johan,

    Always! πŸ™‚

    Andreas,

    Arla.se seems better at a first glance at least, but they have some work to do too.

  • jens persson says:

    On a usability note:

    Some weeks ago I tried to order a catalogue from ving.se, so that I could browse for travels without using the computer, and I could not find a way to do it via the homepage. The only way I found was by phoning in and give my phone number and that was then turned into an address…

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jens,

    They're trying to cut costs, I guess, and hope people will go ahead and book. Although I completely agree that it should be possible to order a paper catalog from a travel web site, for whatever reason you want it.

  • Just unbelievable. I nearly fell off the chair by this so called award.

    And it is always the sites with tiny unreadable fontsizes that fail so utterly at text resizing. Hilarious.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Reine,

    Yes, small fiont sizes and poor resizing handling seem to go hand in hand. πŸ™‚

  • Rolf says:

    and really bad to buy http://www.vingkund.se because an earlier customer, now in wheelchair, has published http://www.vingkund.com/en/main.htm .

    David against Goliath !

  • ruth says:

    I think this is not the proper place to talk about standards of a particular website? I think you should let the management know about it; email them so you will let them know what they should improve

  • Pierre says:

    http://www.ving.se won Best travel site this year (2010) and finished third overall. What do think about that?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Rolf,

    Thanks for sharing.

    ruth,

    I think discussing something like this publicly is a good way to make their management care.

    Pierre,

    Well, let’s just say that it has a long long way to go… Besides, that list has never been correlating with good web development practices…

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