Has Rackspace found the formula for the perfect website?

Rackspace Managed Hosting apparently has discovered the formula for the perfect website:

Pwebsite = { ((14.14* EaseNav) + (13.56*Speed) + (13.11*CleanDes) + (10.89*Func) + (10.89*Up)) – ((12.63*Pops) + (10.32*Ads) +(5.21*MultiM)) } / 6.26

The key differentiators within the ‘perfect website’ formula were revealed as: ease of navigation, high speed of page downloads, a clean and simple design, functionality and the site always being live with excessive aggressive advertising seen as a detractor.

The formula is a result of research carried out by the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) on behalf of Rackspace Managed Hosting, incorporating a YouGov nationally representative online survey of 2,500 adults, in-depth interviews and in-house qualitative research.

This involved setting 50 participants a 'virtual treasure hunt’, requiring them to seek out specific pieces of information from a variety of websites. As participants tried to navigate the set sites, SIRC recorded their comments and preferences.

Research highlighted:

- 83% of respondents reported ease of navigation as being the most important factor in their ‘ideal’ website, with 62% rating high speed and 49% rating functionality as the other key factors

- 80% of people surveyed rated a clean and simple overall design as their most desirable design factor with only 6% wanting innovative use of flash and multimedia options

- Running a faster (61%) and easier to navigate (52%) website were the two most popular improvements people would make to Internet sites today.

Putting Pwebsite into practice

Following the findings from the YouGov survey, Rackspace Managed Hosting developed an online RateYourSite calculator using the SIRC criteria to measure a website’s performance against the perfect website formula.

Jacques Greyling, managing director of Rackspace Managed Hosting commented, “The rules of the web are constantly changing. Rackspace commissioned this study to better understand what the formula for online success is today, as part of our commitment to providing our own brand of customer service ‘Fanatical Support’ to our clients.

Greyling continues: “Furthermore, 25 percent of the formula highlights that for any business wanting to run a ‘perfect website’ it must focus on speed and uptime, an area in which Rackspace Managed Hosting is a proven market leader. It will be interesting to re-visit this in twelve months to see how the needs of web users have evolved.”

The Formula explained

Pwebsite = the degree of perfection of the website

EaseNav = ease of navigation

Speed = the speed at which pages load

CleanDes = clean and simple design

Func = functionality -' does what it says on the tin'

Up = the site is always alive

Pops = the site tries to give you pop-ups

Ads = excessive advertising

MultiM = Flash and other multimedia

A website that scores 10 out of 10 on the first 5 variables and 0 out of ten on the second 3 variables, would achieve a 'perfect' score of 100.

For sites where security is an issue, e.g. online shopping, banking, etc. – then an additional variable enters the formula, 'Secure', with a weight of 9.77. If this is added, the total should be divided by 7.24, rather than 6.26, to maintain the maximum score of 100.